The partial lunar eclipse Saturday was pale in comparison to the full eclipses in Lawrence Tuesday night.
These weren't caused by the positioning of the moon or the sun.
They were caused by “Twilight.”
Hundreds of area residents gathered at Hollywood South Wind 12 theaters in south Lawrence throughout the day to wait for the premiere of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” the third movie in a series based on vampire novels by Stephenie Meyer.
According to house manager Jon Kelly, the hardcore fans were planning to spend most of their day getting caught up on the vampire genre action, starting by watching the second movie, “New Moon,” at the theater.
“I’m just trying not to get too anxious," Kelly said as he worked to prepare the lobby for guests. “Without the college kids around, it might not be as big.”
When “New Moon” was released in November 2009, 550 people attended the opening-night showing, which showed on two screens at the Lawrence theater.
Tuesday night’s moviegoers bought up nearly twice that number of tickets. As of midnight today, managers at South Wind 12 estimated they had sold as many as 1,100 tickets. The movie played on five screens. Theater employee Jon Ratzlaff said the 1,000-plus attendees was easily a record for the theater.
The movie crowd, dominated by high-school-aged girls, was divided in its support for the movie’s two leading male roles. T-shirts claiming loyalty to Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner, and Edward, played by Robert Pattinson, dotted the theater lobby. The line to get into the lobby stretched around the north side of the building. Despite the division, the crowd remained calm.
“When you have people who are this anxious,” Kelly said, motioning to the patrons entering the theaters, “they tend to listen.”
Not everyone in the theater was there by choice, however. KU sophomore Cody Janousek and Free State High sophomore Matt McReynolds said they were forced by a friend to attend the midnight showing. It was the first Twilight Saga viewing for the two, who claimed friends had given them an overview of the first two films. Janousek said it wasn’t the worst way to spend the evening.
“We don’t really mind,” he said.
Many of those in the young crowd claimed to have read all the books — there are four in the series — at least once, being drawn in by the drama. Madison Easley, an 11th-grader at Lawrence High School, said she and her friends had purchased their tickets about three weeks ago and had waited anxiously since.
“It’s basically the best thing ever,” she said.
The fourth and final episode in the series is scheduled to be released in movie form in two parts, the first of which is not expected to be released until November 2011.
So what are the die-hard fans like Bishop Seabury tenth-grader Emily Arnold going to do until then?
“I’ll probably read all the books again,” Arnold said. “It’ll be worth the wait.”