Watching a movie, the American way

If you’re anything like me, you’re inevitably going to see some coverage on a new movie opening while channel surfing for Fashion Police! News. It’s always quite amazing. Take the recent Twilight opening, there were long queues for the movie opening everywhere in the US. Even with the Harry Potter movies, and even the Harry Potter book launch. I remember night launch parties being planned in Borders (may you RIP) with J.K. Rowling herself doing some reading. How’s that to bring out a long queue.

Harry Potter Premiere 005(The queue for the movie I’m about to tell you about)

Now, part of the reason why this is so, is because American movie theaters sells you tickets without seat numbers. Pay close attention here. You sit in queue for a while if you’re an avid movie go-er and need to have a good seat in the cinema. As soon as they start taking entry tickets, you see a mad dash into the cinema and some poor foot soldier spreading out five different jackets so that their posse who are lining up later in the line (‘cause come on, ain’t no one got time for that <– insert meme here) can stroll in and have the pick of the house.

In other parts of the world, you can book your movie tickets from the comfort of your home, or your phone, or your laptop and know which seat awaits you. For the sake of efficiency, and the fact that I can sometimes be a control freak, I prefer the know-your-seat option. Plus, if the house is full and the remaining seats crap, you will know in advance enough that you can choose a different timing.

Anyway, towards my final years of studying in Chicago, I went through a mad rush of “I-must-do-these-quirky-American-things-before-I-leave-the-country madness”. I decided, I must try to experience this weird phenomena of waiting in line for a movie and enjoying the hype.

And thus began my five hour wait for a good seat for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Copyright Liyana Jamil - long queue that snaked around the cinema lobby)

I got to the cinema early, after my (then) American boyfriend had dropped me off with a “You’re crazy” and “see yah later” look. I was half-tempted to dress up as a golden snitch, just for the heck of it, and run around directly into people. But then, who would hold my seat? So instead I opted for a book to keep me company, thinking maybe I was indeed going overboard.

Harry Potter Premiere 008(I was number two in line. The man to the right of the pic was the number one fan, with his wife)

Nope. Sitting right in front was a clear sci-fi/ Harry Potter lover who indeed wanted the-best-seat-in-the-house. He was a nice guy, and we struck up a conversation (because clearly, who else are you going to chat with). We talked about the movie, what he does, what I do and it was at least another hour or two before the next people in line showed up. To-note, he and I were clearly above the recommended age for Harry Potter. It was quite a lot of fun to be honest, watching the hype build up as more and more people showed up. Some in little Gryffindor or Hufflepuff (why do I even know this) school uniforms, with glasses and posters up. The local media even came by to do an interview on the first guy waiting in line. It was fun!

Harry Potter Premiere 011(That one drink was the curse of sitting and waiting for a good five hours)

(Not) too long after, they released us! And let us run free into the cinema. My boyfriend h   ad showed up maybe 30 minutes before they let us in and ambled up nicely to the second spot in line. We chose our perfect seats smack-dab right in the middle of the cinema, placed our jackets, and I ran off for a much needed bathroom break!