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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Are midnight Thursday movie openings here to stay?

midnight movie ticket Prometheus IMAX

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?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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