The Regal Kambe Theater in Kenai was packed Tuesday night with Kenai Peninsula residents ready to see the third installment in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse."
A steady stream of skinny-jean clad teenagers, moms in pajamas and the occasional middle-aged man poured into the theater for its sold-out midnight debut.
"I have been waiting a year to see the movie," said David Gattenby, 33, of Kenai.
Gattenby said he bought tickets the day they went on sale in May.
He and his boyfriend, Jay Edelman, 40, said they are both big fans of the series because they love vampires.
"Edward and Jacob are just hot," he said.
And he's not the only one who thinks that.
Vanessa Anderson, 16, of Kenai, said the movies are so popular because of "the hot, sexy guy thing."
Besides the good-looking actors, theater-goers were also contemplating their allegiances to the two male leads, vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) or werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).
"I'm team Jacob for sure," said Jasmine Klauder, 18, of Kenai.
She was excited to see the movie because of the special effects and the "vampires vs. werewolves" thing.
Nora Washburn, 24, of Sterling, said she couldn't make up her mind about either Jacob or Edward.
"I'm split down the middle," she said, showing off her Jacob T-shirt and Edward blanket.
And what's with the whole vampires are supposedly from Alaska thing?
"I thought it was kind of cool when I read the books," said Tandi O'Neal, of Soldotna. "I don't know what they do in the summer though."
For some others the movie's appeal was all literary.
"I read all the books and I'm a fan but I'm not a big enough fan to get shirts and scream at the boys," said Kendra Ahlers, 16, of Soldotna.
She said she likes Twilight because "it relates to a lot of high school relationships."
"I read the books five times each. I'm kind of a nerd," said Miranda Monzulla, 15, of Clam Gulch.
She said she was "ecstatic" to see "Eclipse."
"I have very high hopes for the movie," she said.
According to Stephanie Lindsay, a theater manager, 348 tickets were sold in two theaters for the midnight showing.
The theater opened another showing at 3 a.m. to meet the high demand and pre-sold some 70 tickets for that showing by Tuesday afternoon.
Across the nation, "Eclipse" took in more than $30 million from early morning showings Wednesday, a new midnight record, according to the Associated Press.
The Kenai theater was also pre-selling tickets screenings later in the week.
Char Moore bought tickets for a Thursday matinee for her and her teenage daughter, 13-year-old Kyla, who has a Twilight-themed bedroom.
"We're team Jacob," she said.
Moore said they would have gone to the premiere but her family had church on Wednesday.
"We're a Christian family so I wasn't going to let her watch them, but (the books) have good morals," she said. "As far as purity is concerned he really wants her to wait."
In the series, Edward wants female protagonist Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) to wait until they are married to consummate their relationship.
Another popular fantasy book-to-movie conversion was a different story though.
"I didn't let her watch Harry Potter. Harry Potter used real witchcraft and I wouldn't go for it," she said.
Moore said the series has a special meaning for her family because they lived in the Forks area in Washington State, where the books take place, before they moved to Alaska.
So why is the Twilight series so wildly popular?
"It's definitely the romance," she said.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com.
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