In case you haven’t heard, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is already breaking box office records: an estimated $44.2 million for the biggest Wednesday opening ever, which includes about $12 million from the biggest midnight screening ever. This isn’t exactly a surprise; Harry Potter making money is a bit like Tiger Woods winning golf tournaments — it’s mostly just a question of how many records will be broken.
But that second number — the $12 million for the Tuesday-at-midnight showings — that’s what I want to talk a bit more about with you, PopWatchers. It just so happens that this past Tuesday at 10 p.m., I walked by Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and there was already a line around the block for the midnight showing of HPatOotP there. Now, I’m no slacker movie fan. I’ve been getting tickets weeks in advance for the opening night of a highly anticipated movie since you had to physically drive down to the theater and buy them in person. But I’ve never gone the extra step of waiting for two, four, 10 hours in line for a midnight screening, mostly because I figure, after even three hours in line, I’m not going to be in prime condition to watch a McDonald’s commercial, let alone Daniel Radcliffe wand-dueling with a de-schnoz’d Ralph Fiennes. Pretty much, I’d only be good for dropping off an international visa application or riding the newest roller coaster at my local Six Flags.
But clearly there are multitudes who have the cinephile stamina to weather the late hour and long lines, and I want to know more about you. Is it fun? How do you while away all that time in line? Play games? Read? Do you meet new people? Is it a once-in-a-lifetime thing, or a for-my-entire-life thing? And, most of all, is the actual movie itself somehow sweeter, better, once you finally get inside, get your popcorn, and get your seat?