Around 1,200 “Twi-hards” huddled together on the 30-degree Thursday night at Richland Cinemas as the beloved “tween” book-to-film franchise “Twilight” met its silver screen conclusion in “Breaking Dawn: Part 2.”
Some waited for up to four hours in the side lot of the theater. At 10:30 a.m., 190 fans arrived for a marathon showing of all three films, culminating in the final installment’s 10 p.m. showtime.
For $25 a pop, goers had coffee and doughnuts for the morning show, pizza, varied bits of “Twilight” swag (keychains, lanyards and the like) and free popcorn and soda refills before each sequel.
“For fans, it’s a heyday,” said Ed Troll, owner of Richland Cinemas.
One West Taylor Township mom and daughter made a day out of it.
“It was a great experience,” said Amy McIntosh, 44, who said she and her daughter, Malore, 18, have stood in line for every “Twilight” premiere. “It’s a thing that we do together ... They fed us well.”
While the McIntoshes said their experience was exhausting, the crowd outside was full of preteen energy and excitement.
“I was freaking out before we got here, in the car,” said Ali Kissell, 15, of Portage, who was wearing five layers of clothing, including a blanket. “It’s just the last one and I’m excited to see how they make it. If they change it a lot from the book, I’ll be upset.”
Troll has been in the cinema business for about 40 years. He’s seen franchises come and go and provided his opinion on this genre of film.
“So much depends on how well they make the movies that the audience can see enough connection to the books they’ve read to not feel (betrayed) by it,” he said.
Although there were two “Twilight” theaters left unsold, Troll said his turnout was deceptively big, as his staff has developed a finely honed system for seating the hundreds that show up for midnight premieres.
As expected, the audience’s age gap was wide. but gender was a decidedly lopsided representation. Many moms seem to love brooding, sparkly Edward Cullen for the same reason his character appeals to their daughters.
“For the older generation, I think it’s more the unrealistic expectations of what we want from men,” said Jennifer Knepper, 33, of Richland. “(Edward says) things we would love for a man to say to us.”
“That he would die for you,” chimed her niece, 16-year-old Molly Knepper.
But isn’t he already (un)dead?
“I think it’s the mix between attractive guys and a girl who can’t decide between both,” said Knepper. “I know a lot of girls who can’t decide between two guys, so it kind of relates to a lot of girls.”
“I think it’s a good love story,” said McIntosh.
“(Edward and Bella) do everything right – they get married, hopefully they have children.”
Troll can’t put his finger on it, but it may have something to do with his Y chromosome.
“I haven’t a clue. I’m a guy,” he said. “They’re fun to watch, but the passion that the women have for this just eludes me.”
Danielle Kendig, 27, of Westmont came not only with a friend and her daughter, but in the ninth month of her pregnancy. She considered a moment of emotional stress during the film that might cause her to go into labor.
“I will sit with a popcorn tub underneath me and watch the movie before I leave,” she said with a laugh.