They skipped class, skipped work, called in sick, or used up a precious vacation day. However they got there, the fans gathered in a half-full downtown Toronto movie theatre for a marathon of epic proportions: all five Twilight films screened back to back, culminating with the newest release, Breaking Dawn Part 2 at 10 p.m.
That’s approximately 11.5 hours of sparkling vampires, teenage angst and sexual tension — until, at least, (SPOILER ALERT) the fourth movie, Breaking Dawn Part 1, where Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally get married and consummate the deal.
At the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, the fans come prepared.
“We love Twilight!” says Jessica Baratta, 22, as she settles into the theatre seat where she will spend the next 12 hours, aside from bathroom breaks and a Starbucks run.
Beside her is sister and fellow Twilight fan Olivia Baratta, 20, who guards the rations. This isn’t the Baratta sisters’ first marathon.
“We watched the third one in the theatre as a marathon,” explains Olivia. They’re prepared with healthy snacks (nuts, veggies, fruit and yogurt), pillows and their most comfy sweat pants.
“There is no way you could sit in a theatre for 12 hours with jeans,” Olivia says.
Behind the Barattas, a woman unfurls a baby pink Snuggie. And the aroma of fast food wafts down from the back row where another woman unwraps the contraband burger she has smuggled in.
Across the aisle, Patrick McLoughlin, 27, and boyfriend Mark, 27, whose last name has been withheld because he called in sick to work to attend the marathon, made sure to go for an early lunch before the first film began at 12:30 p.m.
McLoughlin works in the film industry and snagged free marathon tickets(a retail value of $29.99, something he says he’d never pay for). He cashed in a vacation day and convinced Mark, who has only seen the first film in the saga, to tag along. “I’ve seen all of the other ones and it kind of felt ridiculous, but fun at the same time,” says McLoughlin.
The men, who are two of approximately six men in the entire threatre, often watch up to four films a day when the Toronto International Film Festival is in town. They’re not worried about sitting for a long time. Both men also see the humour in the situation. “This entire thing is embarrassing,” Mark says, laughing.
It’s not only the under-30 crowd at the Twilight marathon. Grace Schiabel and co-worker Danuta Zwicewicz give their ages as “under 50.” The women are two of five co-workers who have all cashed in one vacation day to see the films as a group. They also saw the last Twilight marathon two years ago. “We thought: ‘we’ll never do this again,’” says Schiabel. She laughs. They’re back for round two and find an aisle seat where Zwicewicz can stretch out her legs.
Schiabel says watching the films back-to-back lets her see the young characters grow up and progress. Part of the appeal for adults, she says, is the love story based on old-time values. “It’s a nice story and it’s not over sexualized,” she says.
As the lights dim, there are only a few isolated cheers. These fans know it would be a mistake to expend too much energy too soon during a marathon.