For would-be Hobbits, Elves and wizards, it was a can’t-miss opportunity.
Die-hard “Lord of the Rings” fans enjoyed “Trilogy Tuesday,” a back-to-back-to-back marathon of all three films, including the first public screenings of the third and final movie, “The Return of the King.”
Reaction to the first film was wildly enthusiastic at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore, with each of the major characters getting cheers for their first on-screen appearance. The most piercing screams were reserved for Orlando Bloom who plays the Elf warrior Legolas.
“If I could just stop the fan girls in the back from acting like high school fan girls, then it would be great,” said Chris Baryliek, a 26-year-old graduate student at George Washington University.
He conceded that sitting through three extremely long movies in one day would not be easy.
“I was kind of hitting the wall during the first presentation,” he said. “My upper back was saying ‘What are you doing to me?”’
Most of the tickets had been purchased hours after they went on sale in October, but fans lined up long before the trilogy’s start to stake a claim on the best seats.
The 99 theaters participating in the trilogy marathon arranged numerous treats for fans, with some setting up buffets for the between-movie breaks.
Michael Brown, a 22-year-old student at Johns Hopkins University, was first in line at the 900-seat Senator, arriving at 10:45 a.m. Monday with a tent, a sleeping bag and a box of PowerBars.
“I spent 10 hours waiting for ‘The Two Towers’ to open, and about the same for one of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies. I try to be first in line for just about everything that premieres here,” Brown said. “I do this to myself because I love movies, and I feel like if I’m going to go see the movies, I might as well do it right.”
Ordinary moviegoers, though, may feel daunted by the New Line Cinema trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen and Sean Astin. It began with the “extended edition” of “The Fellowship of the Ring” from noon to 3:30 p.m. “The Two Towers,” also in extended form, was to follow at 4:30 p.m., leaving time for a break of an hour, and 45 minutes before the 10 p.m. start of “The Return of the King.The more 'Rings,' the better
But for fans, the more “Rings” footage they get to see, the better.
Demand for trilogy tickets has been huge, with tickets selling on the auction site eBay and online ticket brokers for up to $250 apiece.
“I scheduled this a year ago,” said Nancy Pierson, a toxicologist from Boston who paid $120 on eBay for a ticket and drove to Albany, N.Y., for the marathon. “I couldn’t get anything closer.”
In New York City, 45-year-old Daisy Martinez wore a green hooded cloak studded with pins of the characters and closed at the neck with a leaf pin that was part of the official movie merchandising.
“It speaks to the times, it speaks to the inner child inside everybody,” Martinez said of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s work. “The story that it tells is that the littlest person can make a huge difference in the world, and I just feel that with the stuff that’s going on in the world today, we need to believe that.”
At a Tampa, Fla., theater Tony Straquadine, a 29-year-old engineer who happened to have Tuesday off, said he planned to up his intake of sugar and coffee to get through the marathon.
“A lot of chocolate,” he said.
“I love the books, I love to get away on the fantasy side of things,” he said, noting that he belongs to a medieval re-enactment group and often wears period costume for those events.
And he suggested that the marathon also might be a good way to meet women.
“I want the kind of women who are going to be attracted to a geek,” he joked.