Sarah Pfledderer / arts editor
As the clock ticked toward 11:30 p.m. Thursday, the sound of swiping credit credits at ticket kiosks and a bustling crowd filled the entrance way of AMC Lennox Town Center 24. The movie theater’s front parking lot was full.
Erik Bobbitt, a 2011 alumnus from Ohio State, waited as his friends were purchasing tickets. On the top of his head was a mask and scribbled in permanent marker on his white V-neck were the words “I like Batmans.”
He, along with a plethora of other fans across the nation, was prepped to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” which hit theaters Friday as the third installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
“The moment I watched ‘Batman Begins’ I was converted,” Bobbitt said. “He was my favorite superhero.”
“His heart was stamped with a bat sign,” said Bobbitt’s friend Ram Sridharan, a staff for OSU’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, jokingly.
Sridharan, also wearing a Batman mask, said he was first turned on to the superhero watching director Michael Keaton’s Batman films. He seemed to be impressed with what Nolan has done with the story, though.
“I would work for Christopher Nolan if he wanted me to clean his toilets,” Sridharan said. “Christopher Nolan is brilliant.”
Bobbitt said “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” are his favorite films of all time and he has fair expectations for “Rises.” “I’m not expecting perfection, just a great wrap and I think Christopher Nolan will hit that.”
Nathan Szabados, a 2012 alumnus from Ohio State, had been at the theater for The Dark Knight Marathon, which screened “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” before the midnight premiere of “Rises.” Szabados said it was his first movie marathon in a theater.
“There’s a lot of intertwining that you don’t see when you see (the movies) years apart, so there’s a lot that’s really nuanced I guess about seeing them back to back,” Szabados said. He also said his only expectation for the third film was for “Tom Hardy to be kickass.”
Meanwhile at the Gateway Film Center, a line filled mostly with people who had passes hanging around their necks extended about halfway down the stairs around 11:45 p.m. The line, however, was to the concession stand, not the ticket counter. Those with passes were getting their last break from Gateway’s Dark Knight marathon before the midnight screening of “Rises.”
Johnny DiLoretto, director of operations at Gateway Film Center, estimated there was a line of people waiting for the premiere almost to the Gateway parking garage before they were let in at 11 p.m. He recalled seeing male and female jokers coming in as well as some people dressed as Catwoman and even a girl in a penguin gown, assumingly dressed as The Penguin.
DiLoretto compared the crowd size to the premiere of “The Avengers” in May. “Right now those are the two biggest movies of the summer, really,” he said.
As midnight rolled around the lobbies in the theaters across the campus area started to clear as viewers situated themselves in their seats and set their eyes on the big screen to watch “Rises.”
Lennox, which played the film on all 24 of its screens, had around 130 unsold tickets for the midnight screening and Gateway had been sold out since Wednesday.
At about 2:45 a.m., viewers filed out of Gateway’s eight theaters. Megan Bachelder, a fourth-year at Ohio Weselyan, was one of the first ones out.
“It was completely insane. So good,” Bachelder said of “Rises.” Holding her thumb and index finger close together, she said, “We were this close to crying about four minutes before it ended.”
Bachelder said she already has plans to see the film again with her dad Sunday.
Jay Homan, a 2012 alumnus from Ohio State, said he was also a little upset at the end of the film and wouldn’t have minded if it ended differently.
“Christopher Nolan I always know is wanting to push the limits on a lot of things and mess with some people,” Homan said. “I’m mad at myself because I didn’t catch one of the little tricks in there. Otherwise, the ending is good.”
Brittney Leonard, a third-year at Columbus State Community College, was dressed as Catwoman and said of Anne Hathaway’s playing the character, “I think she did a really good job. … Before everyone was really disappointed they picked her.”
She said of the film, “Outstanding. A lot of little twists that you could kind of pick up on if you were really paying attention.”
Then after looking at her watch, which was close to reading 3 a.m., Leonard said, “I didn’t even realize it was that long.”