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3:58 p.m., Feb. 19
Box Office Mojo reports that The Hunger Games is the biggest money making sequel ever to have a midnight premier. In comparison, the first Twilight installment grossed $7 million.
With an $19.74 million opening, The Hunger Games comes in at seventh place behind the last three Harry Potter and Twilight movies.
Fans stood in line for up to 18 hours to catch the midnight screening at Edwards Mira Mesa. The film opened on 13 of the theatres 18 screens.
What was the point of tearing down giant singles screen theatres when an 18-screen megaplex is playing The Hunger Games on 12 screens (plus IMAX)? I posed the question (in a less delicate manner) on Facebook and here is what my friends had to say:
Ernie Anderson: "Supply and demand."
Diana Rushton Brumitt: "The point is probably money. I'll be there tomorrow night with the masses. I'd much rather watch it in my room, I'm antisocial like that, but there are a team of teens relying on me."
Danny Baldwin: "That's just for midnight. Starting tomorrow, it's 5 during the day and 7 at night. The difference is that they can pull it from 3 or 4 of those screens starting next week... whereas a single screen would have to keep it as their only feature for at least 3 weeks to fulfill contract obligation. But it was not the mega-hits that destroyed the single screens -- if every week were Hunger Games, they'd still be going strong. It was the down months out of the year."
Merry Maisel: "Multiplexing cut down on communication of communicable diseases. Otherwise, no advantages."
John Monteagudo: "So they're tying up multiple screens to show a less interesting rip off of Battle Royale. Sad."
Corey Creekmur: "Unfortunately a common practice for some time now."
Scott Marks: "The megaplexing of America began not long after Shitberg and Lucas swapped megahits with Close Encounters and Star Wars. The main reason multiplexing took hold was staggered showtimes. Ask Marty."
Danny Baldwin: "You're partially right, BUT you didn't see the single screens die off completely until megaplexes in the mid-90s. Spielberg and Lucas both gave single screens some of the biggest hits they ever had. People just decided stadium seating and the frills were better, for reasons I'll never understand."
Danny Baldwin: "Case in point is the opening of Mission Valley 20 in 1995. Cinema 21 and the Valley Circle finally died off in 1998, and the Cinerama in La Mesa would have undoubtedly been right along with them had it not been shuttered due to rainwater damage in '88. I think the early multiplex did a lot of good--primarily in rural/suburban areas where a one-screen couldn't sustain due to low populations--but the megaplex did NO good."
Brandon J Riker: "Battle Royale should be on at least 2 Screens."
In case the name Danny Baldwin is unfamiliar to you, my friend and colleague is an astute critic, observer of the local film scene, and author of the blog Bucket Reviews.
I was not about to sit in an auditorium for two-and-a-half hours with a gaggle of gabbing teens. Matt Lickona's review aroused my interest. I'll wait for a 10 am show next week, when the kids are safely tucked in school, to see it.