The fifth and final installment of the “Twilight” saga hit select theaters Thursday night, and many moviegoers geared up for it by camping out for hours.
They weren’t waiting in line, though. Instead, they were holed up with blankets, pillows and popcorn at one of several area Regal Cinemas showing an all-day marathon of the wildly popular vampire series, leading up to the 10 p.m. opening of “Breaking Dawn — Part 2.”
“We wanted to have a girls day, kick back and watch the whole entire series,” said Alia Kapelle, 21, of Schenectady. “I was telling my friends, you know, we need to plan ahead, bring pillows and blankets in case we fall asleep.”
When they arrived at Colonie Center, they soon realized they weren’t the only ones with the idea.
“Everyone had backpacks, pillows and blankets,” she said.
Regal Entertainment Group announced the all-day marathon well in advance. The company would provide “Twilight” fans the opportunity to purchase tickets, which ranged from $15 to $20, and view all
five films back to back to back to back to back. In addition to special food and drink offers, fans received a commemorative lanyard from the one-day-only event.
Across the Capital Region, that meant packed theaters at Crossgates Mall, Latham Circle Mall, Wilton Mall, Colonie Center and elsewhere.
Kapelle said about 400 people showed up at Colonie Center Stadium 13 for the marathon, which began with a showing of “Twilight” just after 11 a.m. “New Moon” played at 2 p.m., followed by “Eclipse” at 4:45 p.m, “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” at 7:20 p.m. and, finally, the premiere of “Breaking Dawn — Part 2” at 10 p.m.
“It’s addicting,” Kapelle said, noting that she had the same problem with the Harry Potter series.
But in her opinion, the “Twilight” fan base is a very different audience than the Harry Potter audiences of the past decade.
“It’s just different. There’s a different target audience for ‘Twilight,’ ” she said. “There are actually a lot of older women here, even a few guys who are brave enough to show up in public. It really ranges. You have people who are my age and people who are in their 40s on up.”
That could have something to do with the age-proof allure of the vampire-human love story, which has proven its staying power well beyond just the “Twilight” franchise. There was Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the late 1990s, the mega HBO hit “True Blood” in 2008, and the much tamer CW show “The Vampire Diaries” in 2009.
Anyone who’s stuck with the vampire franchise over the years knows just how big a splash “Twilight” made when it first arrived on the screen. Kristin Staples remembers reading the first “Twilight” book by Stephenie Meyer in 2007. When the movie came out a year later, grossing more than $408 million in the U.S. alone, she watched it three times in the theater.
“I’ve seen them all in theaters,” said Staples, 23, of Fort Plain. “I used to be much more into it, though. I was a much bigger ‘Twilight’ fan when it first started.”
Waning interest didn’t stop her from showing up for the all-day marathon at Colonie Center.
When Staples arrived at the theater, she posted excited updates about the marathon on Twitter, including a picture of herself in sweatpants and slippers. Her choice of clothing was ideal for an all-day movie marathon.
“There are people here with personalized clothing that say things like ‘Opening Day,’ ” she said. “There are lots of sweatpants and baggy clothes and pillows.”
Pre-release surveys estimated the final film would debut at around $150 million in North America.