Sparkle and fade
The premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II gave Retro Cinema 4 its busiest opening night of the year.
On Thursday evening, the fifth and reportedly final film in the popular fantasy/romance franchise debuted at movie theaters across the nation.
In Forest City, nearly 400 fans squeezed inside Retro Cinema to be among the first to experience the last Twilight.
Based on the bestselling novels by Stephanie Meyer, the Twilight movies have grossed an estimated $2 billion since the release of the first film in 2008. Breaking Dawn Part II is the second installment of a two-act finale that kicked off in 2011.
The modest, four-screen cinema dedicated a pair of sold-out auditoriums to the premiere, and both audiences burst into a chorus of shouts and whistles when the projectors fired up at 10 p.m.
Cheering aside, watching the vampire-crossed love story come to a head marked a bittersweet occasion for many fans.
“I’m really sad it’s going to end,” Stephanie Harrelson lamented.
“I kinda didn’t want to come out and see it tonight because I don’t want it to be over.”
Teenager Anna Sims nabbed a poster hanging in the theater’s lobby as a souvenir.
“I don’t know how it’s going to end — or if the ending will be at all different from the book — but I’m very sad,” she admitted.
Tammy Stephens, however, believed the franchise will carry on.
“I want it to keep going and going,” she said.
“But they’re not going to stop it; they make way too much money.”
For $20, fans could watch both chapters of Breaking Dawn back-to-back at Retro Cinema. Around 60 percent of moviegoers sprang for the double feature, according to owner Michael Packet.
In addition to making more than $6,000 at the ticket window, Retro Cinema sold a slew of concessions during the premiere.
With a hotly anticipated wide-release like Breaking Dawn Part II, the film's distributor can claim up to 70 percent of first week returns. As a result, multiplexes generally net more off snacks and refreshments.
Audiences munched through five 6-gallon sacks of popcorn on Thursday night, according to cinema staff.
Another interesting statistic: Out of 376 people gathered inside the theater, only 31 were men.
Since Twilight’s fanbase consists mainly of women between the ages of 16 and 35, the gender disparity wasn’t entirely surprising.
So what did the dudes at Retro Cinema have to say about the series’ conclusion?
“I got dragged here [...] but I guess it was decent,” Brandon Head said.
Breaking Dawn Part II grossed $141.3 million domestically over the weekend, giving it the eighth largest theatrical debut of all-time.