They came by the thousands and the Hollywood Reporter is already comparing their fervor "to the frenzy that surrounded the Beatles when they hit America in the '60s." They are the "Twi-hards," or hard-core "Twilight" fans, and you will only be seeing and hearing more of them as we approach June 30, the release date for the film version of "Eclipse," the third book in Stephenie Meyer's fantastically popular teen vampire series.
According to press accounts, at least a thousand fans (mostly young women) slept outside overnight in hopes of being one of the 550 allowed spaces on the red carpet outside the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles for the celebrity-studded première of "Eclipse" last night.
The movie opens nationally on June 30, with many Hollywood executives hoping it will jump-start summer ticket sales. The first two movies made from the books of the "Twilight" series have grossed $1.1 billion worldwide. There are some predictions that the third film will be the most successful of all.
Meanwhile, fans unable to endure the wait till next Wednesday have a few options. At least three cities (Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver) are offering free showings of the movie on Saturday, June 26. Special cast appearances and activities are promised in each city, as well as a "red carpet experience."
Doors will open at 6 p.m. in each city and seating will be on a first come, first served basis. Hopefully the host cities know what they are getting into and are well prepared to deal with hordes of enthusiastic Twi-hards.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.