Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The ABC's of The Dark Knight

You know The Dark Knight is going to be huge when...

(a) You go to the local grocery store yesterday at around 1:00 PM and see a young gentleman wearing a suit and tie holding up a sign that reads, "I Believe in Harvey Dent," and who proclaims that we should all cast our votes for Harvey Dent to every passerby.

(b) You read that 89% of all Fandango ticket sales have been for The Dark Knight in the past couple of weeks.

(c) You call up the Metreon Theatre in San Francisco today and when you ask what time you should show up to get in before the crowd for the 1:30 showing, they tell you that a large line of people were literally encircling the building before the theatre complex opened this morning to see some kind of special sneak peak--which will show at 7:00 tonight, and that for the IMAX opening day showing, the man on the other end of the line tells you that you should arrive at least one hour before the showtime as the line will become quite long to get in. Guess I better take the 10:10 ferry rather than the 11:10. And bring a book. And pack sandwiches. (I later called and asked if one could just sit down and eat food on the floor in line, to which the man said in a weary voice, "Yes, you can--we don't encourage you doing that... But we won't tackle you down to the ground if you do." Ah, such a welcoming invitation!)

19 comments:

Craig Kennedy said...

This is why I only go to the Arclight on opening weekends: No waiting in lines.

Jeez, Batman is just going to be huge, isn't it?

lightbird777 said...

Tickets have already been sold out for this movie since I don't know how long.

Alexander Coleman said...

Yes, I do think it'll be huge. This film is like a perfect storm. The only serious issue is the kids-and-females factor. Statistics show that a lot of women want to see this, but it does seem pretty, um, dark for young kids... Nevertheless, I figure it will be huge. This might be the one big summer blockbuster that proves adults go to the movies, too.

Alexander Coleman said...

Ah, you snuck in there, Alison, as you're apt to do.

You're right. Tickets have been on sale for ages. I feel bad for those who haven't already snagged their tickets if they're trying to see this thing anytime too soon.

The number of oddball showtimes in New York City and other cities are interesting. 6:00 am, I've read. Yikes. 10:00 am felt too early for me for this... And a big problem of seeing this film at midnight for me would be my adrenaline would probably be so high I know I'd never get to sleep.

Evan Derrick said...

I bought my ticket for the midnight screening but my friend, curses on his soul, waited an extra day and it was already sold out. So I'm going alone. I'm going to be THAT GUY in the corner, waiting to see the movie.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anticipation for a film has reached this high since Phantom Menace in 1999. I remember that Spider-Man was big, and it set records and all, but I don't remember it reaching the frenzied level of insanity that this one has managed to cultivate in people.

Alexander Coleman said...

Well, like I said to Craig, Evan, this is a perfect storm--because it's got comic book nerd fanboys, the general public and cinephiles all panting with anticipation. Then you throw in the curiosity about Ledger's performance as The Joker (amplified, yes, sadly, by his death--which has been like free marketing in the entertainment and just general news press), and the insane job Warner Bros. has done marketing this bad boy, and you've got borderline mass hysteria.

Which is great, I think. This makes me recall my "Event Films" thread here from back in May. The Dark Knight has been, from afar, an Event Film for a very long time.

The problem is the mass of humanity one must contend with. Craig's got them beat, though, going to the Arclight. Oh, Craig, you don't relize how spoiled you are.

Batman Begins amassed such goodwill for this Nolanized take on Batman and the franchise, and the cast is spectacular... I still remember being in a theatre last summer and that original teaser was played. When it flashed, "Summer 2008" at the end, a bunch of guys around my age groaned and one memorably said, "That long?"

Alexander Coleman said...

The Phantom Menace (and the other Star Wars prequels to lesser degrees) was a big event, no doubt, Evan. I still remember having to use Fandango to get a couple of seats for Attack of the Clones, and seeing it around 11:00 in the morning on an atypical-for-May rainy Sunday, and the big theatre was absolutely packed.

I imagine anticipatory fever about The Dark Knight might have to be compared to say, Temple of Doom in 1984--I wouldn't be born for a few months, but from what I understand, after the brilliance that was Raiders of the Lost Ark, the general population's desire to see another Indy adventure, especially after it was announced to be made, was astonishing.

Christian?

Sam Juliano said...

I absolutely love your appraisal of the excitement surrounding this most anticipated of all summer releases, a film that marries the arthouse with the multiplex.
Lucille and I (and our brood) will be attending the 1:30 P.M. showing of TDK at the Edgewater National Amusement Multiplex which lies literally on the riverfront facing Manhattan. There is almost never a sell-out on a Friday afternoon (Saturday and Sunday of course are different) so we are confident going forward.
Sounds like a carnival atmosphere in SF, which much of the public's consciousness wrapped up in the opening! That's really great! Love the use of the letters documenting the various stages of near-hysteria, and the camping out festive atmosphere.

Alexander Coleman said...

I hope you, Lucille and your brood all enjoy yourselves in New York City, Sam.

Tonight at 9:00 PM the History Channel is showing a special entitled "Batman Unmasked," which looks kind of promising. I'm going to check it out, at least. (At the very least, I will record it this evening.)

The crowds camping out and everything does recall the Star Wars phenomenon as Evan noted.

sartre said...

Alexander, I'm appalled by the thought of you having to endure eating your sandwiches in a long queue comprising every manner of riff raff, dunce, and knave.

Alexander Coleman said...

Sartre, all I can say is I thank the heavens that your shoulder is always available for me to cry on.

Alexander Coleman said...

Just called the Metreon again and now this guy says to show up at least two hours before showtime.

I feel like I'm going to an airport or something.

Joel said...

I'll be curious to see the reaction to this in Portland. According to Fandango, there are still seats available for all of today's showings at the downtown theater we will be at tonight. I don't think Portland gets worked into the frenzy that Seattle does. I remember camping out hours ahead of showtime in line (there multiple lines for each screening) of all three LOTR films at Seattle's Cinerama.

All the Imax showings (other than 9am and 1:40 am) are sold out, but it appears tickets are available at every other theater in town. Probably just as well for me. I hate standing in line for a movie.

Alexander Coleman said...

Thanks for that report from Portland, Joel, and thanks for stopping by again.

I agree--standing in line for a movie sucks; I did it once this year for Indy and looks like that will be a cakewalk next to this. I'll be standing, sitting and eating in line this time.

Good luck with seeing it tonight.

K. Bowen said...

You know what I'm happy about. A few years ago, everyone was saying that theatrical exhibition was doomed. I was always thought it was CYA for Hollywood executives who had gotten fat and happy and weren't willing to step even an inch outside the box. Now we're here three years later and thankfully no one seems to be talking about the death of going to the movies. At least for the moment.

This is the first movie that feels like a national holiday in some time.

Alexander Coleman said...

Very, very true, K. Bowen.

Being fifth in a line of 660 people today for 2-1/2 hours before showtime was quite the event unto itself. This is a cultural event.

Daniel G. said...

"But we won't tackle you down to the ground if you do." That's hilarious...

And I agree with KB's point on the health of cinema. Hooray!

Alexander Coleman said...

Agreed, Daniel.

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