My pal Scott Renshaw, entertainment editor at Salt Lake City Weekly, to which I contribute the occasional review, tweeted this recently:
Anyone remember at what point Thursday midnight screenings kinda became the rule, rather than the exception?
I can’t remember. The first midnight opening I remember going to is Gladiator, way back in 2000, but it was not a major affair: the theater was almost empty. Though I cannot recall now if that was because midnight screenings hadn’t yet become a thing, or if there simply was no anticipation for that film.
Whenever they started, they seem entrenched now. You cannot open a would-be blockbuster today without midnight screenings, it seems: whether they’re good for amping up audiences or just a way to boost opening-weekend box office, they seem here to stay. Or are they?
Are midnight Thursday movie openings here to stay? Or are they a temporary symptom of Hollywood’s struggle to keep audiences engaged?
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