Costumes are common sights in midnight showings, primarily for fantasy or science fiction fare involving film franchises that can stretch for years, allowing audiences to invest in characters and story lines on a more personal level.
“Midnight showings of these kinds of movies just enhance that sense of ritual and make it more of a bonding experience for people willing to make the extra effort to stand in line and stay up late,” says Rob Salkowitz, author of a just-released book called “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture” and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We want to get together and hear these stories told and share our love of them. It’s really affirmative.”
The film industry also relies on the midnight showings to boost revenue on opening weekends, which is crucial in an era when it’s feeling the crunch from competing living room entertainment like cable television, streaming Internet movies and television shows, and video games. Midnight screenings are part of recent strategies like IMAX and 3-D technology meant to encourage the live experience in an era when so much is compelling audiences to stay home.