Tomorrow, the long-awaited sequel to the blockbuster movie Divergent comes out. The movie in question is, of course, Insurgent. I myself have not been waiting for it on the edge of my seat; between the books and the original Divergent movie, I've decided I'll wait until it comes out on Redbox or something. The rest of my family, however, want to go see it. I'm sort of the movie guy in my family, so I looked at showtimes for our local Cinemark (I've actually got links to all the local movie theaters on my toolbar, but Cinemark is usually our go-to theater for midnight showings and the like). And I found that there are six showings of Insurgent - before midnight. Four in 3D and two in standard viewing. Of course, there's also the aforementioned midnight showing, as well as a double feature that shows Divergent and Insurgent back-to-back, starting at 5:15 pm. These leads me to my question: does the release date of a movie even matter anymore? Only four years ago, I went to see a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows double feature with both parts, but it was staged so the first movie would end around 11:50, giving us moviegoers a few minutes to stretch our legs, get some popcorn, etc. Divergent is 2 hr. 19 minutes long, so people attending the double feature will be viewing Insurgent by 8:00 pm.
Now, I don't object to the early showing of Insurgent for the double feature; if I was paying $18 dollars to see a 3D movie event for over four hours, I'd want to see the movie a little bit before midnight (which I will actually be doing in April for an Avengers: Age of Ultron double feature) too. I don't have any problem with the midnight showing either; I remember being ecstatic when my mom told me I could go see my first midnight showing, which I think was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. I think that the midnight showing is almost a tradition of sorts, something I love. But six showings between 8:00 and 11:45 pm? That's a bit much, because, in my opinion, it sucks some of the enjoyment out of attending a midnight showing. It doesn't seem quite as special when there were six previous showings - seven if you want to include the double feature.
I get that multiple showings help everybody who wants to see the movie see the movie. However, I think that they could just as easily open every theater that they have to show the movie at midnight. At my local Cinemark, that would be around thirteen theaters showing Insurgent at the same time. As stated above, I don't object to a double feature showing the movie before midnight, especially if the only option is to pay extra to see it in 3D. In fact, I wouldn't even object to a showing or two at 11:45. Maybe one in 3D because midnight showings, in my area at least, are always in 2D, another to help ease the midnight showing crowd. I don't, however, think that there's any reason whatsoever to have so many showings before midnight. It's been four years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out it it only had midnight showings; in another four years at this rate, blockbuster movies like Insurgent and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II will all but be coming out a day ahead of their scheduled release dates. So I ask you, reader: do movie release dates matter anymore? And, if there are six showings between 8:00 and 11:45 pm the day before a movie comes out, what makes a midnight showing so special?