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The first viewers in Boulder of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” were out of the theater by the time a typical midnight movie premiere would be getting underway. Century Boulder showed the new release for the first time at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21.
Theaters across the country are moving up midnight premieres in the face of the movie-theater industry’s economic slouch. Data from the Motion Picture Association of America shows that from 2002 to 2011, movie attendance has dropped from 1.57 billion to 1.28 billion movie-goers a year.
Andrew Davis, assistant manager at Century Boulder at the 29th Street Mall, said that before the 9:00 p.m. showings were implemented, the theater was doing midnight releases for nearly every movie they got. Davis said that with movies geared toward younger audiences also being shown for the first time at midnight, premiering films earlier in the evening allows those younger viewers to attend.
“Parents are less inclined to have them coming in at midnight,” Davis said.
Capitalizing on blockbusters like “Catching Fire” during a time of declining ticket sales also entices earlier showtimes.
“It’s become a more recent trend in the last couple years to have earlier showings,” Davis said.
Natalie Coleman and Kathryn Zeigler, CU students and avid “Hunger Games” fans, sat first in line on Thursday, eagerly awaiting their late-night showing to begin seating. The two said they felt safe at late showings.
“I don’t think I associate [the Aurora shooting] with midnight premieres, it was never something that factored into my deciding to go,” said Coleman, an environmental design major.
Zeigler, a film studies major, said the new showtimes detract from the tradition created by midnight premieres.
“Personally, I’m not a fan,” Zeigler said. “In theater there is a very big tradition of the premiere and it’s an honored, celebrated thing. I think it takes away from staying up late with the diehards. it shatters tradition.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Xandra McMahon at Xandra.email@example.com.