It’s official, Twilight fever has struck Cache Valley. “Eclipse”, the third installment of “The Twilight Saga”, opened Wednesday to great anticipation nationwide. Cache Valley was no exception. “All four showings of midnight are sold out,” said Richard Davidson, General Manager of Westate Theaters Tuesday before the debut of “Eclipse”. “In town, we probably have close to a thousand people going.” “Eclipse” continues the story of brooding teen Bella Swan and her love triangle with vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black. Hundreds lined the pavement of University 6 and Stadium 8 for the premiere, all there to support their favorite vampires and werewolves. “We’re just here for Jacob,” says 16-year-old Brittany Lamborn. Lamborn and her group of friends lined up at noon Tuesday, a full 12 hours before the release of “Eclipse”. Still, they weren’t the first in line. “People came [Monday] and set up tents in the parking lot,” said University 6 Shift Manager Austin Robins. “They’ve been here probably 24 hours.” As an employee, Twilight is one of the bigger midnight premieres he’s seen. People lined up sooner and the shows filled up quicker. To get a seat at the midnight show, people had to be fast as tickets sold out in a matter of hours. The theaters began sales June 5, and by the end of the day the stock was completely wiped out, according to Davidson. Those lucky ticket holders ranged from the ‘Twi-hards’ and ‘Twi-moms’, to the casual fan who wanted the full Twilight experience. One such fan was Madi Shupe. Donning an Edward and Bella t-shirt, Shupe and her three friends bought tickets to the show not wanting to break the Twilight midnight premiere tradition started with the first installment. Some people came dressed as the characters and a group of pre-teens played a Twilight trivia game. They correctly answered Edward’s birthday and the recreational activities on La Push beach. In comparison, Shupe feels she’s under-qualified for the title ‘crazed.’ “I only have one t-shirt and I’ve had this since Twilight,” she says, pointing to her chest. “I’ll wait in line but I’m not the one who buys the action figures and lunch boxes.” Since Stephanie Meyer first penned Twilight in 2005, the 4-book series has sold nearly 100 million copies in 50 countries. “Breaking Dawn”, the last book of the saga, broke the first-day sales record at 1.3 million copies, rocketing Meyers into history books. Her stories dominated the 2008 USA TODAY’S best-selling books list with 22 million copies, a feat not even J.K. Rowling could match. The movie adaptations have been just as successful. According to distributor Summit Entertainment, the “Eclipse” midnight premiere topped $30 million, soaring past the previous record holder for the night-owl showings, its prequel “Twilight:New Moon” which brought in $26.3 million. The staggering numbers at local theaters made for some good business. Skylar Tidwell, an employee at Westates Theater’s Stadium 8, explains with the large crowds they sell a lot of snacks. “People will buy concessions and the only profit we make is off the concessions,” he says. “We get maybe 2% of what’s sold out in the box office so these big crowds really boost our (popcorn and concessions).” “Even though I don’t particularly take to Twilight,” he adds, “they’re really good business and that’s what makes it roll, that’s our bread and butter.” The theaters buzzed with Twilight talk by 10 pm. The timeless question ‘Team Jacob or Team Edward’ was on everyone’s lips. One particularly-heated conversation started in the concession lines after a middle-age man disagreed with two teenage girls over their alliance to Edward. “I’m a guy!” he said at one point. “Jacob is a decent looking young man!” The rebuttal arguing the werewolf’s selfishness and immaturity didn’t settle the issue. According to local ticket sales, the demographics for the premiere of “Eclipse” was split evenly between adults and children, says Davidson. The gender ratio? Not as much. The books’ and movies’ appeal to females was proven by a sea of women and scarcity of men in the theaters. Wishing to remain anonymous, one gentleman said he actually enjoyed the movies and books. “At first I thought they were boring, but I plowed through them and now I’m kind of in to the story.” Many have asked why Twilight is such a phenomenon. Perhaps 12-year-old Victoria Staffurd sums it up best. “It’s the story and the characters,” she says. “The storyline is just so creative and, I don’t know, romantic but not like all mushy-gushy really. It’s supernatural and magical.”
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