The line for the midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III began forming in
front of the Roxy Theatre at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Sure, the "line" was just one enthusiastic die-hard Star Wars fan
at first, but it
was a line, nevertheless. Harrison Richardson of Colstrip brought
his chair, his sunglasses and his life-sized cardboard cutout of
Princess Leia to make certain he was first in line for the final
installment of the six-movie Star Wars series.
Theater owner Mike Blakesley said that the midnight movie marks the first
time the Roxy has been able to play any Star Wars film on opening
night. Prior to this release, small town cinemas generally couldn't afford
the terms, he said.
"Until now, their rental terms were so strict and oppressive that a
small-town place couldn't afford them," he said. Theaters showing
the films on opening weekend were required to play them for four
consecutive weeks. Now, those requirements have been dropped back to
three weeks -- a long run for a small theater like the Roxy, but not
completely impossible, Blakesley said.
The midnight showing also is a first for the Roxy. Blakesley and his
wife, Lynn, have "always wanted to try one," Mike said. The
Blakesleys thought about a midnight showing for the last two Lord of
the Rings movies, he said, but both of those were released in the
middle of winter, just before Christmas. Midnight is awfully cold at
that time of year, Blakesley said.
"This is just a little more friendly time of year," he said.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was embargoed for
public viewing until May 19. To accommodate these rules, the
midnight showing does not begin until 12:01 a.m. Thursday, May 19.
Blakesley isn't expecting a packed house from a midnight show, especially
on a school night. But he has had numerous calls from parents asking
about the schedule, saying that their child has said he or she
"absolutely must" attend the show.
"You just never know," he said.
midnight showing of REVENGE OF THE SITH drew a total of 88 people,
including 7 who came from Billings when the theatres there were sold
out. Our next midnight show was "Pirates of the
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," in July 2006. That showing drew 122