Chinh Doan could not keep the smile off her face last Thursday night.
"This is epic," Doan, a University of Oklahoma journalism sophomore, said. "It's one of those events that is so groundbreaking and revolutionary that no one can really describe it."
That event: the midnight premiere of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." The "Twilight" movies, based on the books by Stephenie Meyers, have become a cultural phenomenon, with a loyal and enthusiastic fan base rivaling those of "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars."
Selling out theaters across the nation, the movie sold more $26.27 million worth of tickets for midnight screenings on opening night, according to Summit Entertainment, which released the film. The vampiric follow-up to last year's "Twilight," "New Moon" went on to drain more than $140 million from the box offices in its opening weekend.
Doan was among the 190 members of OU's Delta Delta Delta and Delta Gamma sororities who traveled en masse to the Moore Warren Theatre for the midnight premiere. The two sororities teamed up and bought enough tickets to book an entire theater auditorium to themselves for a private showing.
"The girls were all talking about the movie," Kathy Frazier, Delta Gamma's adviser, said. "And it just got bigger and bigger, and I thought, 'I can sell out a whole theater.'"
TWO MONTHS AGO
She bought the tickets two months ago and sold them all within about two days, but even a private theater was not enough to meet the demand of the two sororities.
"We couldn't get everyone in," Frazier said. "I hated to tell girls they couldn't go."
Several sorority members who did not have tickets headquartered at the Delta Gamma house Thursday night, hoping that one of their ticket-bearing sisters wouldn't show up, Frazier said.
Delta Gamma hosted a "New Moon" pre-party before the showing, complete with vampire-themed food and matching "Twilight" T-shirts for those attending the movie.
"It's like a night when I get to see my hero and the love of my life and get to be with all of my sisters," Doan said at the party. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Lines stretched outside Norman's Hollywood Theater Spotlight 14 hours before "New Moon" began. The theater sold out about two weeks ago, said Irene Waller, a box office cashier. Fans filled 735 seats in three theaters.
Mistie Fryar and Autumn Brown, who was sporting a "New Moon" T-shirt, were the first in line for the 12:04 a.m. screening. The pair arrived at 7:40 p.m. to make sure they got good seats.
"There was no one here when we got here," Brown said. "But people started getting here within about 30 minutes."
Haley McElhaney and Ana McElhaney, cousins and juniors at Blanchard High School, bought the last two tickets, they said. Wearing glitter on their faces and dressed in matching shirts that read, "I run with vampires," the students arrived at the theater two hours before the premiere.
"It's like an era of 'Twilight,'" Ana McElhaney said.
"We're going to grow up and look back on this," Haley McElhaney said. "Hailey Branson