Midnight Screenings

Two individuals recount their adventures as some of the first to see a film on the big screen opening night and discuss the hype surrounding the idea of seeing a movie before anyone else.

Midnight Screenings

Junior Riley Schelhaas pulled on her brown toe socks with fur glued on the top. She tightened a tan cloak around her throat, then she reached for her bag before heading out to the car. Though she was wearing a costume, it was not Halloween. Schelhaas was dressed as a Hobbit, a small imaginary character with hairy feet. The Hobbit was created by J.R.R.Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Schelhaas was heading to Celebration Cinema, ticket in hand, ready to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in theaters before anyone else. This was the night of the midnight premiere.

“I’ve been to three midnight premieres,” Schelhaas said. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Iron Man 3.”

Schelhaas believes that attending a midnight premiere is not just an act of seeing something before anyone else, but as a group bonding activity.

“When you see a movie at a midnight premiere, you’re surrounded by other fans, and they all understand the love you have [for the film],” Schelhaas said. “You get to experience something that you don’t get to experience when you just go to a [regular] movie.”

She believes that with a midnight showing, there is something the fans are looking for from the director of the film.

“Filmmakers will often put tiny little jokes or references in their movies just for the fans,” Schelhaas said. “So you go to a midnight premiere and there are all fans there. Everyone in the theatre is like ‘haha I got that’ whereas with a normal showing, you hear maybe two people in the back who [understand the joke].”

Schelhaas is one of many who has attended at least one midnight premiere in the past. She recounts her experiences as positive, and she believes this event is worthwhile. She says that going to these occasions has helped her “not feel so strange for obsessing over a film” when she sees other people who are dressed up and as excited as she is. Those who wear costumes are seen as “the cool people, and everyone wants to take a picture of the costumes” these fellow fans are wearing and have spent several weeks to months making.

Senior Shelby Wright is another person who has ventured into a dark theater at a late hour of the night to be one of the first to see a film, though she did not dress up like Schelhaas.

“The [midnight premieres I went to] were the Justin Bieber movie, The Hunger Games, and Twilight,” Wright said.

She describes her adventures to see these movies as “so much fun and so packed”. Despite not having dressed in costume, she enjoyed it.

“I know when I went to Twilight, the people taking my tickets were dressed up as the vampires,” Wright said. “I personally didn’t dress up, but some people did.”

Wright and Schelhaas both agreed that the most enjoyable part of their experience was the feeling of being in the theatre late at night, as well as camaraderie among the other fans in the theater.

“When you’re just a normal person, your life is a routine,” Schelhaas said. “Whereas when you’re a fan of something, you have something more to do with your time, and it makes you very happy. It makes you feel like there’s a reason you’re living and getting up every day.”

Despite all the fun involved in attending a midnight premiere, Wright stated that the hardest part of going was trying to get a good seat. For Schelhaas, her challenge was returning home around four in the morning and still having to attend school the next day. Yet, both students enjoyed the midnight premieres and hope to attend more soon.

“[I’m hoping to see] The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies,” Schelhaas said. “That comes out December 17th.”

“I would like to see the new Hunger Games,” Wright said. “The new one that’s coming up, [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1].”

Wright also commented that going to these events is beneficial for all who attend, and will leave a lasting memory upon them.

“I remember it definitely, so I think that’s really good cause I don’t remember half the movies I go to during the day,” Wright said. “It was definitely a really cool experience.”