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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Audience Participation

Want to Have a Great Experience at the Movies? Bring Your Geek Friends and Go At Midnight!

If you are a movie fan who cringes at the thought of driving around for half an hour for a parking spot, paying your hard-earned money for a ticket, then being bombarded by a bunch of inconsiderate jerks who remain tethered to their cell phones throughout the movie, you are not alone. But one writer is suggesting that there is a surefire solution to avoiding all these pitfalls of visiting a public movie theater: go at midnight, when the geeks come out to play. Why? Because they’re actually there to see the actual movie, not socialize. Which leads me to wonder why all these other people pay upwards of $12 just to text in the dark.

In Sunday’s edition of The New York Times Magazine, Alexander Huls takes the classic institution of the movie theater and compares it to something a lot more exciting: a jamboree. But not for your rank-and-file moviegoers. For people like us, who wait on lines for hours to be among the first to see a movie at the stroke of midnight, sacrificing our productivity and alertness the entire next day after spending the wee hours of the morning recovering from the previous night’s cinematic experience, this is the experience to which we are more accustomed:

The auditorium is stuffed with noisy, agitated true believers, ready to explode in thunderous cheers; they elatedly chatter at the slightest eyebrow twitch of a beloved character on-screen. This audience is loud, interactive, pumped up and ready to geek out. To the dedicated cinephile, the midnight show might sound like a nightmare.

It’s not. I have learned to adore the midnight show as a moviegoing experience. It has become the one lure that draws me unhesitatingly back to the theater. It’s not just a raucous party to be endured. It’s the one way in which movie theaters can still reliably fulfill their most sacred function.

Well, if The Avengers and The Hunger Games weren’t downright spiritual for you, as Huls makes them sound, then you did it wrong. And you have to try it again.

I’m kidding, of course. You are in no way required to see a genre movie at midnight in order to feel the impact you were supposed to feel from it. But it does kind of help when you consider that you’re not surrounded by people who just went to the movies to get out of the house on a rainy afternoon. You’re surrounded by the most passionate, excited people who give off a hurricane of positive vibes, anticipating the audio-visual retelling of their favorite stories, crafted by talented artists who gave painstaking care to the construction of the script, every edited scene, and every actor’s performance. Or, at least, that’s what we hope for. But you cannot take that anticipation away from us!

And yes, there is usually noise at these screenings, but Huls points out something important about that noise:

The thing to understand about the ruckus of a midnight screening is that, unlike the usual noise you have to filter out at a movie theater, it never feels disruptive, because it’s never disrespectful. The noise isn’t about people distracting others (and themselves) from the movie. It’s directed at the movie. It comes from an irrepressible desire to celebrate what’s being seen. It comes, at its heart, from the greatest emotion a movie can give you: Joy.

Going to the movies should be one of the best things you do for yourself. You can watch a Netflix thing at home if all you want is something to do. But if you want to go on a ride, work a nap into your schedule and go to a midnight screening. We’ll save you a seat, which is guaranteed, because we’ll be there at 10:30 at the latest!

(The New York Times via io9)


  • Meghanf

    I love midnight screenings.  I did the marathon for the opening of Avengers and it was like six midnight shows in a row.

  • Lake Desire

    I would if I could manage to stay up that late!

  • Jenn

    Scott Pilgrim’s midnight opening was exactly this – vibes of Rocky Horror as the entire audience laughed and cheered together, simultaneously groaned at horrible trailers, etc. It’s like a spiritual experience for atheists who aren’t normally surrounded by hundreds of believers.

  • Being Geek Chic
  • Jack Creed

    I love midnight screenings.  I saw all three Lord of the Rings movies at midnight and it was a fantastic experience each time.  The energy was amazing.

  • Andria Harkey

    I saw the seventh Harry Potter at the midnight showing. It was my roommate’s 21st birthday, and we had enough people to fill in our entire row in the theater. I was half expecting it to be miserable (especially given my dislike of crowds). But it was one of my best movie-going experiences. We bought our tickets in advance, and we went to one of the smaller theaters. We’re in a college town, and everyone there was around our age. We were polite to each other; I saw more than one instance of people moving around so groups could sit together. And then the movie came on, and nobody was texting, or talking, we were laughing and crying together. It was wonderful.

  • Anonymous

    I will never hate midnight screenings. I don’t always dress up, but most of the time I do.

    The Avengers doubled as a sort of going away party for a friend of mine. We went to nearly all the midnight premieres last year and had a friendship based mostly off of mutual nerd interests.
    He managed to put together a full Avengers lineup (save Agents Coulson and Hill) and with people who were pretty decent physical matches for the characters (except Nick Fury who was a blonde haired girl we dubbed Chick Fury). Thor was particularly good. 
    We’re also in a small city where midnight showings are popular but not huge nerd events. There weren’t a ton of people dressed up, even less who had put together real costumes and not just store bought masks. When we walked into our theater, people stood up and cheered and applauded. Then my friend (our resident Cap) led us all in a cry of ‘Avengers Aseemble!’ which only led to more cheers. 
    It was easily one of the best nights of my life. 

  • Alana Beltzer

    The midnight showing of Avengers I went to was amazing. People broke out beach balls to bop around while we waited for the movie to begin, there were many people in costume, and the callbacks to the Battleship trailer were hilarious. My only challenge was I couldn’t hear the Hulk’s line in that scene (you know the one ;) ) because everyone was laughing too hard!

  • Anonymous

    I had a wonderful time at the midnight screening for The Avengers. I’ve seen it once since then, and I realized how self-conscious I was at cheering during the movie (halfway through I stopped caring and cheered anyway). It’s so amazing to be surrounded by your peers who love this movie as much as you do, and want to be involved! Can’t wait for the sequel!!!! I hope to go as Spider-Man :D

  • Lauren Ekkebus

    I hated the last couple of midnight showings I went to. The ruckus does feel disruptive. Yeah, I’m a nerd too. I know what that joke was referring to. But I’m here to watch the movie, not have a mid-movie conversation about Hawkeye’s costume. Yes, that’s Stephen Fry’s butt. If you think that’s “OMG SOO GROSS”,  then you’re too young to be at a midnight showing, either chronologically or mentally. And costumes. I will give someone a MILLION awesome points for having pulled off an accurate and nifty costume. But people who make a “sexy” lady Thor costume and loudly talk about how “Everyone always looks at my boobs!”, I have little patience for.
    I’m not saying midnight showings can’t be awesome. But please don’t paint this as everynerd’s cup of tea. A crowd of nerds is still a crowd of people. Not all nerds are considerate. The rare ones I’ve been to where everyone cheers together without someone trying to throw in some extra jokes in the middle of a tense scene? Face-meltingly AWESOME. But, in my experience, this has proven to be the exception, not the rule.

  • Carmen Sandiego

     I was the first in line at my local theater’s midnight Avengers showing.  The guys in line behind me brought Trivial Pursuit cards and were making balloon animals (and swords, and hammers) for people in the theater.  The energy was palpable and contagious.  I was dressed like Enchantress and my favorite costume of the night was someone dressed in full Deadpool with Thor’s helmet on top.

  • Sean Samonas

    I have to say I can understand that.  My girlfriend and I went to the first showing of The Avengers the Friday night that it came out (we couldn’t make it to the midnight showing).  The air was electric and everyone was very much into the movie and they laughed and cheered and clapped at the right moments.

    We then went the following Saturday to go see it and it was like the theater was dead.  No one clapped, a few people would chuckle at key moments, the teenage girl next to us texted on her phone the entire time and the two teenagers behind us wouldn’t shut the hell up the entire movie.  THE ENTIRE MOVIE.  And not comments on the movie itself…just random stupid conversations.

    And the theater companies want to know why people go to theaters less and less.  Go ahead and pass that rule that allows people to use their cell phones in the theater and see what happens then.

  • Life Lessons

    Midnight shows are GREAT! Yes indeed about the “true believers” part. Midnight audiences are the best. :) 

  • Kathy Hatzigiannakis

    I went to see Avengers on the 1st full day of the run, and I was baffled by the teens sitting next to me who spent easily 1/3 of the movie talking and laughing. I eventually turned to them to say “Can you PLEASE stop talking; it is VERY annoying.” I can’t fathom spending $15 to sit and BS with your friends…in a 100% packed theater!

  • Maria

    We went to Avengers midnight showing and it was our first time going to the midnight showing, and now we are hooked!   The atmosphere was  fantastic!  Some midnight showings are better than others, but all around  Amazing. Cannot  wait for Dark Knight Rises. Its going to be a  9 o clock showing, which will be even better