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Trilogy Tuesday Reports – Part Two!

December 18, 2003 at 11:31 pm by Demosthenes  - 

Wow, I’ve only just scratched the surface on these reports – there are so many. I honestly don’t think we’ll be physically able to post them all. Nevertheless, much kudos to everyone who’s written in – here’s a bunch more from places as far flung as New York, New Orleans, Orange County, Arizona and Portland.

Ringer Earl, Tempe, Arizona

Twenty-and-a-half hours, red eyes, and a full heart. An emotionally draining and supremely entertaining experience.

I arrived at Harkins Arizona Mills theater at 5:30 am, but over a quarter of the audience – about 120 – were already there overnight in sleeping bags, tents, and chairs. The auditorium holds on the order of 440, and on infamous Ticket Thursday back in October all tickets were sold in less than 15 minutes, all to people standing in line at this very spot as the computers failed. So we know how to wait in line. I came at 5:30 am because I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. A fellow in front of me who came at 11pm said he didn’t intend to. But he found he couldn’t sleep, so he grabbed his sleeping bag and came on down. One of the line party volunteers I met at 6 am told me she had already been up over 26 hours preparing for this. We are the elite – the geekiest of the geeks, and this is EXACTLY the event we want. Apparently, we literally can’t wait.

Also already on the scene was the first of four television news teams that would cover the event with live reports that morning. People slept, talked, played games, read, or just shivered in the chilly (though not frigid) Arizona morning. My homage to the event was a simple leaf broach and cloak. Many very more elaborate costumes were in attendance including a full-on Gandalf, and a startlingly real Grima. A four year old with cloak and pointy ears was the image of a hobbit child.

To protect the line order and avoid chaos in seating, the theater established that there would be no seat saving. They started admitting at noon, twenty at a time. You picked a seat, got a wrist band with its number, and it was marked off a seating chart. That seat was your home for the next 14 hours. This caused some scrambling for me personally, as my wife had planned to skip the first movie and join me for the Two Towers – clearly impossible with these seating rules. However, since you could exit and reenter the complex as much as you wished, she was able to join me in time to get a seat assignment, then leave. Three IDs ruled our day – a ticket stub (needed to reenter the theater complex), a Trilogy Tuesday card on a lanyard for admittance to the auditorium, and a wrist band to enforce ownership of (and help you re-find) your seat.

A wide variety of food was available at the Mall’s Food Court right outside of the theater, and it appeared that our 440 new customers provided a significant impact on their Tuesday evening business in the half-hour breaks between movies.

FOTR-EE – it was like seeing it afresh – I won’t say like the first time, but with fresh eyes, anticipating the jokes and laughing at them as if they were new, knowing what’s coming, but getting swept away anyway. Cheers at the start and applause at the end, but mostly rapt attention. I see 440 faces in intense concentration – absorbing, becoming a part of what’s on the screen. During quiet parts, the audience is silent – not so much as a popcorn crunch. We – all of us – must have every detail, every nuance. This is active, participatory movie watching.

TTT-EE – even more so. Cheers (louder) start the show. Many, like myself, had not yet seen the Extended Edition, so it was almost like a new movie. From the point of view of watching in a theater, I found the EE edition was better – not because I wanted it to be longer, but the story was clearer, the motivations and relationships were easier to understand. I found myself many times saying “Oh! So that’s why …”. If FOTR was savoring an old, well known master, TTT was learning new and interesting things about an old friend. Also, in many places I found I was thinking, as I had so many times before, that it was too bad I would have to wait so long to see how this or that developed – and reminding myself that I don’t have to! THIS IS IT! I see it all tonight.

ROTK – It’s after 10 pm. The audience has already been at the theater on average for something like 12-14 hours – some much, much longer. So are we dragging? Bored? Complaining? Irritable? None of these. The energy has grown. The anticipation is palpable. Eager, excited faces that you would swear had just awakened. But mostly excitement. THIS IS IT! The culmination of years of anticipation is here in just the right environment. The journey through the first two movies is fresh in our minds, there are no distractions, and the payoff comes NOW! Cheers (loudest) greet the “Lord of the Rings” banner, then really intense movie watching begins. As a body, we say take us away, and away we are taken. We laugh, we cry, we cheer, but mostly we are just there inside Middle Earth. At the end, very heartfelt applause, but even louder cheers come for the first credit – “directed by Peter Jackson”.

After picking up our New Line gift, so many wet eyes, so many smiles. A warm glow of satisfaction and fulfillment. This was an unforgettable, and unlikely to be duplicated movie experience. The thanks start with Peter Jackson and New Line. But also thanks to the Harkins Theater management and to the TORN line party volunteers, particularly line leader Steve Thomas.

Ringer Tish, Washinton DC

Trilogy Tuesday, Uptown Theater, Washington, D.C.
The Theater That Turned It Around

TORN covered extensively the many problems that arose with Tuesday Trilogy Tickets to the Uptown Theater, in Washington, D.C. The consternation is understandable for fans who wanted tickets and were thwarted by Fandango foul-ups and problems with the Uptown box office. The Uptown is a renowned venue in the mid-Atlantic. It holds over 800 people, has a 32 by 70 foot screen, a real balcony, a huge, old-fashioned marquee, and, of course, nightmare parking.

The confusion regarding tickets had persisted into the weeks leading up to Trilogy Tuesday. Among other things, it wasn’t certain, because tickets were sold individually, and not as a single set, whether we would have to clear out of the theater after each showing. I’d been concerned by the Uptown in the past — they have frequently seemed to be very unprepared for and caught off guard by the big event movies that always play there. Many were very concerned that the Uptown would not be able to rise to the demands of Trilogy Tuesday.

TORN regulars were really helped by Miriel, our outstanding Line Leader. She and other members came up with great ideas to solve the parking problems, the potential seating problems, food runs, and all other manner of things.

A special thanks is owed to Tom Whittington, managing director at the theater. Under his direction, Trilogy Tuesday went off beautifully. He was obviously aware of the negative reports on the Internet regarding the Uptown and Fandango’s handling of the tickets. He asked specifically that we report on the event. Given their outstanding efforts undertaken, it’s the least I can do.
Among other things, the Uptown:

  • Refunded tickets to people who brought them to the box office on Tuesday!
  • For weeks prior, would try to complete tickets sets for those purchasers who had been confused and only bought tickets for one or two of the shows, thinking they were getting the whole set!
  • Let us keep our seats between shoes and did not empty the theater.
  • Brought in sandwiches and chips for sale between shows.
  • Had Starbucks provide free coffee in the lobby and free refills on soda.
  • Efficiently organized the hand out of the WETA/Sideshow Toy desk mount.
  • Were very lenient about letting people bring in outside food and let them eat it anywhere in the theater.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything they could do about the heat 800 excited bodies generated — it got uncomfortably warm in the balcony. And, the ads and trailers before ROTK were annoying.

And then, there were the moview. Wow.

It was really a great event and those in attendance were really grateful to Tom and the rest of the staff for really making it a great day.

Ringer Lisalas, Michigan

I attended Trilogy Tuesday at the Showcase Cinema West in Flint, Michigan. I’d love to offer my thanks to this theatre and the people there who made this event possible! It was AWESOME!

I planned to arrive at the theatre at 11:30 and go pick up lunch with a friend. The doors were supposed to open at noon. It was raining and cold, and when I drove in the parking lot, the crowd in line was filtering into the theatre early. Very kind of the management! My friend and I still went to lunch and arrived back at the theatre about noon. At lunch we noticed a couple of guys and one was carrying Kleenex and Advil; my friend thought they must be attending the Trilogy also. (She was right, as we saw them there later on!)

We entered the theatre, tickets in hand, and made our way back to where the activity was occurring. A member of management spoke to us about the theatre’s policies. We had to have our ticket stub to re-enter the area where the trilogy was being shown; we also needed it to redeem our free gift from New Line. They also had a menu with LOTR-themed names, such as Gandalf Wizard Wings (hot wings) and Frodo fries.

The theatre opened a second auditorium to show the trilogy, so we were NOT crowded at all. Therefore 800 seats were available for the approximately 388 ticketholders which was very spacious! It was very nice to be able to spread out a bit and not to have to walk past many many people’s knees to get in and out of our seats. It was also good, due to the current flu concerns.

It was wonderful to see the movies with an audience who obviously cared about the movie – clapping, cheering, laughing in the right places, etc… I heard many people conversing knowledgeably about Tolkien and the movies. I would have liked some organized sort of activity to get people bonding. Almost everyone I saw simply talked to the people they came with. An activity led by an audience member or by management would have been helpful in that regard.

I saw a few people in costume – Frodo, Arwen, etc… Not too many; most people dressed very comfortably – a good idea when one will be sitting in a theatre seat for 10 hours or more!

New Line gave us each a gift – it is a picture frame from Sideshow-WETA with a frame from a movie reel from each of the films in it – so 3 total. Mine has Merry, Frodo, and Faramir.

The first film was scheduled to start at 1:15. The second was at 5:30 and ROTK was set to show at 10:00 pm. There were breaks between each film of about 45 minutes. We had enough time to leave the theatre and go get fast food. The actual ROTK film started at about 10:20 due to all the theatre info reels and previews (6, I think!).

I used a lot of Kleenex from my LOTR-decorated Kleenex box – tears falling everywhere! Amazing, but I still cry at Boromir’s death EVERY time. I made it through all of ROTK without needing to visit the restroom, which was very conveniently located JUST outside the theatre door. (Not FOTR or TT,though, lol. I know right where to go in each of those so I didn’t miss much – Wizard Smackdown scene and part of the Warg battle.)

We asked a couple of other theatregoers to take our picture and we also took their photo and will send it to them.

It was heaven to see the FOTR EE and TT EE on the big screen! Once in a lifetime chance! I realized as I was sitting in the theatre that I get to up my count for the theatrical viewings of those movies, which makes 10 for FOTR and 6 for TT. YAY! (I plan at least 11 viewings of ROTK, to exceed my previous record. )

ROTK was wonderful. So many scenes from it are running through my mind today! Planning to go see it again tomorrow.

We exited the theatre about 1:40 to be greeted by some slippery looking snow showers. But I made it home in one piece, and during the whole drive was thinking about the people who were still watching it!

And, yes, my rear end was sore by the end, but it was WORTH IT!!

Ringers -Nevlothiel and Nevwethiel-, Silvercity

On December 16th, 2003, we skipped school and lined up at Famous Players Silvercity Richmond at 6:00 am, about 8 hours after the first people had gotten in line (There were 5 of them, and they camped out!!) It was about 2 degrees celcius. We had our LOTR soundtracks, blankets, gloves, schoolwork, and camp stools to sit on. We were in the line up outside the theater for about 5 and a half hours, although it seemed like 1. We met a lot of interesting people in the line up. Lord of the Rings fans are always SUCH nice people. One lady gave us an extra blanket, and the guy next to us in line gave us The Province newspaper (with RotK articles!) for free!! The doors to the theatre opened at exactly 11:35am (Of course, 5 minutes later than they said!) Everyone rushed in to get a good seat, even though the Famous Players workers told us all to walk SLOWLY.

Our seats were smack dab in the middle of the fourth row from the top. It was awesome!! On the way in, we each got a free collectible gift from Sideshow Weta collectibles. It was a film snippet of each film in a frame. Totally cool!! There were also about a million ticket checks to get into the theater, and the workers kept reminding us “DON’T LOSE YOUR TICKET STUB!!!!” At approximately 1:30 pm, The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Version began. It ran until around 4:45pm. We both cried our eyes out!

After that, we got a 45 minute break to go to the washroom and stretch. It felt as though it went by in 10 minutes!! Anyways, back in the theatre, we watched The Two Towers Extended Version. Once again, we cried our eyes out, even though we’d seen the movie a few hundred times before this!

We got another half hour break in between TTT and ROTK. We were both freaking out, and we started crying before the movie even started! At 10:00 pm on December 16th, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King began. Everyone began whooping and cheering at the top of their lungs. It ran approximately 3 and a half hours. We had tears pouring down our cheeks the entire time, and we even started to hyperventilate. Everyone in the theater cheered for the characters throughout the movie, and we even started some of the cheers! It was just so incredibly intense, you couldn’t help but feel like you were THERE with the characters. It was so sad, and extremely heartbreaking. We just didn’t want to believe it was over! At the end of ROTK, we both got up, faces and clothes soaked with tears, and gave it a standing ovation!!

ROTK was the truest to the book out of the entire movie trilogy. PJ, you did an excellent job on this movie, and that’s the understatement of the millenium. Words cannot describe how amazing this movie is. Our advice to all that have not seen ROTK: BRING KLEENEX!! YOU WILL CRY!! We guarantee it. Enjoy the movie and namarie!!

Ringer Sally, Orange County

I was one of the lucky ones to acquire tickets to Trilogy Tuesday at our AMC Theatre nearby in Orange Calif. Let me tell you that right from the start, it was an excellent experience.

I met up with some Line Party people at a local restaurant for breakfast at 6:30 AM. Met some really great folks and had a small breakfast. My stomach was a little too nervous to do the whole big breakfast thing. Anyway, after a quick breakfast, we headed to the theatre to scope it out. They had told us we could not start to line up until 8 AM. When we arrived, there were about 30-40 people standing next to the official line start, just having coffee. So we got right behind them and had some coffee too. At 8 AM we ducked under the official line marker and started the real line. Security was there and all was fine, no problems. Our theater held 576 people, so being about 40-50th in line was great. While in line, we chatted with all the other Ringers, played Trivial Pursuit and generally had fun. Then about 10:30 or so, the “suits” came outside and started telling us what was going to happen… they gave each of us a lanyard with a very cool “Trilogy Tuesday” picture of LOTR with all the cast. It was really cool, and a great memento of the day. You could wear this around your neck and go in and out of the theatre all day. Very handy for leg stretch time…

When it was time to enter the theatre, they allowed about 50 people at a time, so there was no pushing, shoving or anything like that. None of us granny’s got run over that way. It was all very organized. Very well run, and since this was my first time at this, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Once in the theatre and you had your seat, all you had to do was ask a neighbor to save it for you if you had to leave during breaks… everyone was super nice about this. Just like I would expect from Ringers.

The FOTR EE started at 1:00 PM, with NO trailers. It was superb. then at 4:30 PM we had a 1 hour break. The AMC offered us hot dogs, nachos and pretzels for $1 all day. A soda was purchased once for regular price, it was re-filled all day for free. Then, at 5:30 PM TTT EE started, with NO trailers, and it also was superb. Big screen and sound is WOW. During each 1 hour break the AMC staff played trivia with us and gave away T-shirts for correct answers… it was fun. Although sitting with 575 other LOTR fans, I didn’t stand a chance of winning… way too much competition! During the break between TTT and ROTK the AMC furnished us with Pizza for free. A cool touch indeed.

Then the grand finale… at 10:00 PM ROTK started, again with NO trailers… although I heard that there was supposed to be trailers but they had “issues” with the projector and didn’t want to waste the time, or risk a riot if they delayed ROTK… not sure which is true. Anyway, it started and it was spectacular. I won’t go into all the details as I’ve read plenty of reviews already today, but it was not a let down. Peter Jackson did not let us down in my opinion. There were missing things, but just like the other two, the EE should pull it all together for us. After the ROTK was finished, I could not leave my seat for 15 minutes… it was that emotional for me. I LOVED IT. Upon exiting we rec’d a picture frame from New Line Cinema, not sure if the whole country got these, but it was a nice touch. Both that and the lanyard will make a great mementos of a perfect day.

The entire day was a great experience and my AMC Theatre (at The Block in Orange) did an outstanding job of making it a truly memorable experience. A huge Thank You to AMC for the whole day.

Ringer Kieryn Baggins, NYC

I just thought I would drop you a note about my experience with Trilogy Tuesday! Three friends and I had been looking forward to this for months, so we were all excited when the day finally arrived.

We were attending the Trilogy at the Palisades Center in West Nyack, NY. Living in NYC, we decided that we would just take the bus. Well we got to the platform at 8:30 thinking that would give us plenty of time to get there. However, when 9:30 rolled around and the 8:45 bus still hadn’t appeared, we started to get antsy.

Being theatre-folk living in New York, we decided that renting a car was out, but if we continued to wait for the bus, who knows when we’d get there! So finally, we made the decision. We went to the nearest U-Haul place and rented a cargo van. Granted there were 4 of us and 2 seats, so a friend and I ended up sprawled out in the back on the nasty floor, ducking everytime we passed a toll plaza or the cops!

Well we arrived at 11:30. Plenty of time to spare. We even got great seats, TOGETHER! Then 1:15 rolled around, and the event began.

It was great to see “Fellowship” on the big screen again… especially being the extended edition. After a 35 minute break, we were back for “The Two Towers”. My friends and I had decided not to see the extended edition because we knew we would be seeing it on the big screen… and we were not disappointed!!

The extended edition of “Two Towers” was incredible! As a fan of the books, I was certainly confused about some of the choices made for the film, but the extended edition made it all clear… especially about the change in Faramir. It was like seeing an entirely new movie, and it was fantastic!!

Then we had a 45 minute break before “Return of the King”. By this time it was 9:30pm and I thought I would be tired… but not at all! I was so jazzed about the thought of seeing “The Return of the King.” I could hardly contain my excitement!

The third installment of the Trilogy was AMAZING! I’m not going to say much more about it for fear of spoiling some of it, but I was incredibly impressed. I never thought that anything could out-do the first two films, but this one blew them out of the water! I was still a little disappointed in some of the choices made for the film, but that was only a very small blemish on an absolutely fantastic movie!

The Trilogy ended at 1:30am, and on the way out of the theatre, we all got commemorative picture frames made by Sideshow Weta. It has three windows in it and in each of those windows is a film frame from the movies (one from each). It was very nice of New Line Cinema to give these to us, and it just added the icing to an already wonderful cake!

Well, we all piled back into the cargo van and proceeded to duck cops once again and head back to the city. We arrived back in NYC around 3am, and we all had to be up in a few hours for work… but it was worth it. Trilogy Tuesday was an incredible adventure for my friends and myself, and we will always remember fondly of our quest into Upstate NY and the Fellowship of the Van!

Ringer Chuck, Hampton, Virginia

I would like to thank Susan and Company at the AMC Theater Hampton for their management of Trilogy Tuesday. Upon arriving at 7:50, there was already a sign indicating what time the theater would open to let us in. After 8:30, Susan came out and informed us that as soon as other staff arrived, they would open the doors to the theaters to get us out of the cold. At 9:30, we were taking our seats. AMC provided a nice lanyard that indicated that we were with the event and provided free refills on large drinks and popcorn; nachos and hotdogs were sold for $1.00.

Once Fellowship started, I noticed immediately an annoying flicker on the screen. I was a little miffed about this, but tried my best to get used to it (in fact, after a while, I did not notice it anymore). Immediately following the movie, the theater recalibrated the projector. They repeated this process just prior to ROTK. The presentation was perfect. In addition, besides the courtesy trailer (The Silence Is Golden Submarine trailer, really funny stuff), they did not show the customary “commercials” or previews. Between the TT and ROTK, they provided 2 slices of pizza: and there was enough for seconds and thirds (seriously, they were trying to get folks down to get rid of the cheese pizza).

But the staff and management of the Hampton Virginia AMC really went out of their way to provide a great experience for us ringers!

Ringer Matt, Seattle

Like the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films itself, this tale shall begin with a brief prologue of grim and dark things, i.e. the ticket mess up. We in the Seattle area hold the Cinerama as our Mecca for movies, an absolutely huge screen, managers that often reply classics, and exactly the right refreshments at the concession stand. However, even despite the mess-up on-line, our beloved Cinerama managed to make things worse by opening up the box office, not telling anyone who was or had been calling and/or emailing in, and thus those who spent hours and hours trying to get tickets were shut out while Joe-scalper could walk up and buy 10 or 20 and subseuqnetly scalp them on Ebay.

The dark ages over, those like myself who managed to get a few honest tickets (one on-line order went through after 7 hours of trying from 3 computers), ventured up to Cinerama at 9:00pm Monday night.

Sixteen hours early, we got our place on the sidewalk, ready to sit it out in the good ol’ Seattle rain and cold. The three of us took turns holding the line while others tried to sleep in their car. We made friends with those before and behind us, and even held their spot while they went for coffee or a shower (some rented hotel rooms across the street). I love this new social thing of “Line Parties”. I feel they’re just beginning to take their true form.

NOTE: Amy and Chris, this is Jessica and Matt (the one dressed up in green and chainmail), and we wanted to know if you’d like to talk in the future, perhaps form a friendship–we really liked you, so if you read this, contact me at golden-fleece@mindspring.com

Back to the tale: It rained off and on, we got soaked of course, and by morning’s light there were a good 30 or 40 people ahead of us (others holding places for their friends). We worked it out with them about who would be going for which seats. The Cinerama being after all full of seats beyond count, ours must have seemed of little importance, being neither renowned as great viewing spots, nor counting amongst the very best sound.

The doors were to open at 11:00am. A Dwarf of Lonely Mountain, clad in full mail and gear, stormed up and down the line pumping (and waking) everybody up. Other good costumes included Aragorn, the Witch-King (on stilts), Denethor, Merry, and other Elves and Hobbits, including two young looking (though they were probably of two or three thousand years) Elf ladies whom I imagine must be magical to have not frozen in their thin cloaks, and two hobbit lasses who sat next to us in the film and were absolutely adorable.

11:00am, and the doors stand closed, as if they were the very gates of Moria. Finally, after the crowd begins to get restless, at 11:15 they open, and doubt as to whether the Cinerama can regain our respect looms in the air.

To their credit, Cinerama planned to assign seat numbers once everybody was settled, so during intermission you kept your spot. However, they started handing out these tickets at 12:45, with a 1:00pm Fellowship start time, which thus did not begin until 1:25 as a result. More doubt cast upon our Mecca’s management. I mean, after all, we sat inside for an hour and a half doing nothing–why not hand out the seating tickets earlier?

But like the battle at the walls of Minas Tirith, the tide kept turning back and forth, as Cinerama had ordered 168 pizzas to feed everybody during intermission between Towers and King. But with 800 seats, everybody got only 1 or 2 slices, albeit big slices, and that was enough. They did hand those out in an orderly fashion, and everybody was happy.

Now, on to the Trilogy itself.

I saw Fellowship in the theater 17 times, and Towers 3 times (I came down with Mono last year and couldn’t get out much), and of course have watched both editions of both films at home several times. So, with little sleep, the first film was somewhat of a trial to sit through, as it was all “been here before, waiting for King”, even though fellowship IS my favorite book of the three volumes. However, this initial wariness invited a different experience altogether, and that I could relate with Frodo much, much more, feeling the burden of the journey he knows that lies ahead, and I kept telling myself, as he must have done, how I simply must keep going.

The crowd was into it–the classic cheer for Lurtz losing his head was only a prelude to the cheers that would begin during Two Towers, and grow in frequency throughout the evening. Towers of course was was more exciting and woke more people up, as anxiety built for King.

And the Return of the King? I won’t give big spoilers for those who haven’t seen it yet, but I will say this: It feels longer than 3:20 hours, but in a goods way. Just as Fellowship did not feel like the three hours it was, but rather like two, King feels like four, maybe even five hours, but it has a relentless pace, and you just cannot take your eyes off it (much like Frodo and the Ring).

This is partially because the film takes its time getting to the Shelob, which I would guess is somewhere late in hour 2, and then the siege of Minas Tirith is all condensed into a huge, single but satisfying battle–the tide does not turn back and forth so much, as it is simply more masses coming in one after another. A bit too much daylight for my taste (I always pictured an endless night filled with siege fires), but that’s a piddy preference.

The film makes you start to wonder how much of King will be left, as the film “must run out of time sooner or later”, but Jackson pulls it all together, quicking the pace. For example, Cirith Ungol is about as short a scene as Bree was, very rushed, and Frodo and Sam do not at all cross paths with orcs inside Mordor (being forced to march once being mistaken for Orcs). I’ll bet those scenes were filmed but cut, and we’ll see them (along with Saruman, who was also cut), in the extended DVD. And the end?

The end?

In Fellowship, most people wept when the Fellowship left Moria and mourned Gandalf, and some cried at the end as well. However, with 800 seats, maybe two or three were not soaked in tears for the last hour of King. It was heartwarming, and the ultimate tribute to Tolkien’s efforts, to see everybody, including macho 19-yo guys who would normally heckle and joke at the screen to cover up their insecurity when facing drama, openly weeping for this tale of friendship, fellowship, loss and love.

We then left, and after 30 hours of the Trilogy, I came home and slept until now, 12 hours later, when I write this report. I apologize for the length.

Farewell, and may the blessings of Elves, and Men, and all good movies be with you.

Ringer arwen_evenstar, line party leader Harahan AMC Palace 20

I woke up at 3:30am in order to get in costume and help my friend put on hobbit hair. We arrived at the theater around 5:00am. There were two people in front of us who had camped out over the night. They told us they got there at 11:00 the night before. My group consisted of three people at the time, so we all rested on the blankets and pillows that we brought.

Around 6:30am, another group of people showed up. We started playing Lord of the Rings Trival Pursuit (I won!).

People slowly trickled until about 9:00am. Then the line got quite long. I meet up with a few of the people who were in my line party and we took pictures.

We were lucky to be allowed in around 11:30. We got the all-day pass from New Line, which we all loved. There was a private bathroom in the back, which we tried not to let get around. The wait seemed to be mostly talking about how excited we all were.

When the first movie began, there was much cheering at the start. The reaction to Fellowship was very possitive. Everyone laughed even after probably hearing the jokes a thousand times. I even smiled thinking about commentary moments. I must say, I started crying as soon as they showed Samwise gardening in the opening.

Anyhow, we got discounts at the theater with out all day pass. $1 nachos, hot dogs, and pretzels with $0.25 extra cheese. We also got free refils all day on drinks and popcorn. Thank you, AMC!
Everyone clapped and cheered and the start of Two Towers. It got more in-movie reaction than Fellowship, perhaps because we hadn’t completely worn our EE DVDs yet.

In the second break, we got pizza from Papa John’s. There were four different kinds offered. Everyone was very happy. As happy as I was with free pizza, I could hardly breathe through most of the second break.

The person in charge of the Trilogy for our theater came and talked to us often between breaks, and was always given a round of applause. Before RotK, he gave us one. We had a countdown, and RotK started! We all cheered at the start, and then there was silence. There were cheers, laughs, and tears for most of the film. By the end, I could hear sniffles all around me. I know I shook the entire time and pretty much didn’t stop crying for most of the film.

We all clapped when the words “The End” came up. We took a few more pictures, dried our tears, and went out to get our film frames. I got one with two Samwise pictures, much to my delight!
I cannot wait to see RotK again. Thank you so much to New Line and AMC Theaters for this incredible experience. I still feel puffy from tears, but it was worth it!

Ringer Gayle, Colombus

On December 16, Carmike 15 in Columbus, GA opened it’s doors early to fans who waited for the eventful day to begin. About 11am they allowed us to get our tickets. The theater owner (we think) told us the basics and that we would recieve badges. Not just any badge, a Trilogy Tuesday All Day Pass.Each Badge had a orange number and a neck strap. So all 600 people had these badges around their necks the entire time. The orange sticker with the number became the number for the giveaways.

After Fellowship, the theater informed us that Outback Steak house was catering the event and to line up in the four roped off areas when we excited the theater. Outback provided steak, chicken, salad, and mushrooms for all 600 people. Everything was done in an orderly fashion. Then before TTT they threw out t-shirts out to the crowd. Well after TTT Outback provided a dessert of cheesecake to everyone. It was a great evening. Before ROTK there was a costume contest, which a Legolas, Gandalf, Witch Queen (yes a Witch Queen) and another person which I can’t remember walked away with a prize. There were so many other costumes which were amazing. THey are all winners.

They then had another giveaway. First by the numbers on our badges then they just gave them out to random people. My dad scored a ROTK soundtrack. They also gave away posters which everyone recieved one. THen ROTK started! All that could be heard was a couple coughers which I’m guilty of. After the show tables were set up with out gift from New LIne and WETA. THe Film Frames which were pretty cool. Walking out the theater we said good bye to our new friends and to some old friends. Alot of the movie goers attended Dragon Con so it was a pleasent experience. Everyone behaved and there were no problems except for cameras.

Ringer Dave, Tampa, Florida

Hiya Ringers! Heres a brief rundown on a fantastic experience. My friends and I arrived at the theater around 9 am to wait out the first line to get seats. There was about a dozen loyal fans already there and by 10 am the number grew to at least a hundred.

My friend and I were all decked out in our finest Hobbit attire as were a few other very loyal fans. The local press started showing up and interviewd several people including myself.

We even had a photographer follow my Hobbit pal and I all the way to our seats.The mood was great and the excitement was building.By the way, TheOneRing.net was a major topic of conversation.

As promised at 11:30 we were given a brief speech and our very cool all day trilogy landyards. They let us in and started the second stage of the waiting game but the mood was still fantastic.

Around 1pm the excitement reached a peak. The crowd was chanting (It almost sounded like the orc army at Helm’s Deep) and then the lights went down and there was complete silence.All three epics started this way. It was great!

The theatre staff were awesome. We got free refills on dinks and popcorn $1 hotdogs and nachos and $2 pizzas. Between TTT and RoTK 92 (yes, 92) large pizzas showed up free to everyone.

To top off a memorable night we all recieved the very special Sideshow/Weta film cell frames. I am very sad that it is over and would do it all over again. If by chance Peter Jackson reads this… on behalf of many many many lifetime LOTR fans we thank you from the bottom of our souls for bring this epic to life and we look forward to the Hobbit. That’s it for now from Tampa Florida.

Ringer Mama Tiger, New Orleans

We got to the AMC Palace 20 Elmwood theater in New Orleans at about 10:00 a.m., and found at least 50 people ahead of us in line already, at least a dozen in costume of one variety or other. It was a comfortable day, slightly cloudy, so the theater folks told us we’d wait outside till 12:15, but at about 11:30 it started drizzling ever so slightly, so they took pity on us and let us in early. There were a couple of near-no-shows; our neighbor in line was expecting her brother from Lafayette, and it turned out there was a chemical spill on the highway he was coming in on (to avoid the congestion on the freeway!) that shut the road down for two hours. But he made it before the movies started, fortunately! And talking with people in the theater during the day, apparently several people had extra tickets that they were giving away to anyone who wanted them; there was no scalping that anyone was aware of. There were a very few empty seats at the very front of the theater, but probably not more than 10-12 altogether.

It was a no-reserved seats policy; if you got up from your seat and didn’t have someone saving it for you, it was fair game for anyone. There was only one incident of someone sitting in someone else’s seat that I saw, so mostly people settled in and didn’t have any problems. And my daughter needed handicapped seating, which was occupied when we arrived inside the theater, but upon a polite request a couple of nice young men got up and moved back a couple of rows so she could have the seating we needed. It was just that kind of crowd, very friendly and pleasant all the way around.

A young man on the theater staff, Robert, was our host for the day. He came in and made periodic announcements, scheduling and the like, several times before the first show and then between shows. Robert was quite a popular guy; he was greeted with increasingly enthusiastic chanting each time he got up to speak (“Rob-ert! Rob-ert! Rob-ert!”). Before each movie, he had us count down from 10 for the projectionist, which actually was great fun in a completely silly way. The theater also gave us the employee discount on a number of concession items (dollar hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels), as well as free refills all day on large drinks and large popcorn; and Papa John’s provided free pizza at the second intermission. And bless their hearts, they opened the coffee bar (as well as the daiquiri bar — hey, this IS New Orleans!) late in the afternoon. (Nobody had too many daiquiris, however, at least in our show!)

It was a really happy crowd, and incredibly respectful of everybody’s moviegoing experience. Actually, to put it more plainly, it was the best crowd I’ve ever had the privilege of sitting in a movie theater with. During FOTR, a cell phone rang a couple of times softly in someone’s purse — but wasn’t answered, obviously, or the person might have been throttled! — but after that, everyone turned all electronics off and we actually had a quiet theater, with no audible conversation at all, during TTT and ROTK. It was just wonderful to see the movies with a whole theater of people — including a few kids as young as 10 or so — who appreciated old-fashioned moviegoing courtesy!

Our schedule was FOTR at 1:00, an hour intermission, TTT at 5:30, another hour intermission with pizza, and ROTK at 10:00. There were no problems with any of the films, the theater sound was at just the right level, and it was very comfortable stadium seating. We also brought lots of cushions, so I actually walked out of the theater at 1:20 a.m. after having been in my seat basically for 14 hours no more sore than I am after a day at work. My eyes are still a bit irritated today, though, from crying for 20 minutes straight at the end!

The crowd cheered at the right moments for just the right amount of time, and there was lots of quiet sniffling at the end of ROTK, but generally it was so quiet that during one moment in particular in ROTK when the screen goes dark and quiet for a moment, you literally could have heard a pin drop in the theater. Nobody wanted to break the spell!

We floated out of the theater filled with joy and overwhelmed by the magic Peter Jackson brought to the movies. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I want to extend special thanks to all the fine staff at AMC Palace 20 Elmwood.

Ringer Crow, NYC

Being from New Jersey, there was really no better place to experience the Trilogy than in the crossroads of the world, 42nd St, New York City, in this case, at the Loews E-Walk….

The basic experience was the same as most everyone else’s, I gather….there weren’t as many people dressed up as I hoped to see(I saw one guy in chain mail, and that was it….), and more than our fair share of news crews (speaking of which, to the good people at ESPN2: Don’t be morons, write better questions.)….the breaks between films was a bit too long, but balance that out with a complete lack of ticketing problems at the door like a lot of other theaters seem to have had (in our case, as long as you had an orange “Trilogy” bracelet, you could go in and out of the theater at will during the breaks)…..but, the main reason I’m writing is because, since nobody’s written from the NYC Trilogy yet, not too many people know about the surprise we all had waiting for us right before ROTK started….

After Two Towers ended, a voice comes over the loudspeaker telling us to be back in our seats at exactly 9:45 for something special…..second they said that, the speculation began……5 minutes later, it’s agreed, it’s probably a cast member….so, an hour later, everyone’s back in their seats, cameras are setting up everywhere when a new voice comes over the loudspeaker….Gollum’s.

Gollum’s voice, introducing Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, and, of course, himself….Andy Serkis. And obviously, the second everyone heard the voice, the entire crowd went nuclear with cheering.

The four of them were there only for a few minutes, but, all four of them seemed genuinely humbled by the reception they got coming through the door, and, knowing that we’d just sat through the first two films, and the best one was yet to come, they all had these kinda sly grins seeing how ready we were for ROTK……it was a surprise no one had expected going in, but a part of the experience I doubt anyone will soon forget.

And of course, i must share my thoughts on the film….which is, to keep a long story short (too late), simply that it’s every single inch as great as you’d expect it to be….I personally didn’t cry(came damn close, though), but several others in the audience did…..it’s certainly the most emotionally draining film of the year, and the perfect end to the trilogy….and to have experienced it with a theater full of true fans, along with its predecessors was amazing…. I definitely have to thank the geniuses at New Line who helped set this entire day up….they couldn’t have repaid fan loyalty any better. And Peter Jackson…..you bow to no one.

Ringer Cristy, Portland, Oregon

The Lloyd Center Regal Theatre took great care of it’s patrons. The weather wasn’t very nice and they let everyone in 2 hours before show time. I understand they also allowed the midnight showing Line Party goers in early as well. They even provided a tent for a wedding at the Line Party.

The whole atmosphere was wonderful. Everyone was happy and friendly. It was very much like a huge extended family gathering. We all had at least one thing in common and were really happy to be there.

Seeing the first two films in the extended editions on the big screen was really fantastic. I really love these movies and earlier this year I bought a 48″ screen television so I can always see them on a large screen but it’s still not close to a theatre screen.

The anticipation for Return of the King was palpable. Excitment mixed with a touch of sadness for the ending was very prevalent. The movie did not disappoint for a single second. For me it exceeded all expectation. I felt an absolute wreck by the time it was all over. The tension of the story had me forgetting to breathe and all the crying with sorrow and joy left me completely exhausted.

It would be sick and wrong for this movie to not win every award possible.

It was an exceptionally gratifying experience and I hope it happens again when the extended edition of ROTK is released.

As always, thank you so much for such a great web site – my home page at home and at work.
Ringer King of Prussia, PA

After reading some of the other people who had great experiances with their theaters, I feel the need to express my discontent with ours. We arrived at 10AM and we were, surprisingly, let into the theater by 10:30. We were ushered right into the theater where we could find our seats. Our only identification was our ticket stub so that made leaving and reentering a hassle. The only concession stands were in the lobby so we had to show our ticket stub twice to get back to our seats: once when entering the theater hall and again when entering the actual theater.

The theater itself was rather small. I expected it to have been shown on a big screen. . . their midnight only showing was on their IMAX screen for crying out loud! Their seats were cramped and uncomfortable and there was no leg room at all. The theater supplied no food or drinks outside what we bought at the concession stands and the 25 minute breaks between films did not give anyone without a working knowlege of the area any time to order out for food.

Now, onto the films. I am not sure if it was just our theater, or if the films were rendered wrong becasue the first two were blurry durring quick movements. This problem did appear to ahve gone away once ROTK began. Also, no trailers other than one before ROTK. The theater said New Line requested that but I can’t verify that either way.

Our overall experience of Frodo’s 13 month adventure made us feel like we were watching every second of 13 months on screne. It just crept by and I was physically and mentally exhausted when it was over. I’m glad I will be seeing ROTK again tonight at my local theater. I now appreciate Cinemark.

Posted in Old Special Reports on December 18, 2003 by

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