The clock strikes 12 a.m....where are you?
Fast asleep in bed next to a loved one?
Hunched over a desk finishing that last bit of work for the day?
Sneaking to the refrigerator for that all important midnight snack?
How about standing outside of a theater in the November cold with your best friends and the biggest grin your half-frozen face can manage?
Okay, so it isn't always that cold when you go to a midnight movie premiere and the theater doesn't always make you wait outside, but movie fanatics around the world gladly do just that in order to catch the first showing of a highly anticipated movie.
So why do we movie fanatics put ourselves through it? The cold, the crowds and the fatigue, both during the movie and at work or school the next day - three strikes against, right?
The reason why we do it is simple.
At a midnight movie premiere there is an infectious energy and excitement that ripples through a crowded theater of devoted fans. When those opening trailers begin the crowd goes silent because we are real fans and we want to watch the movie, and woe be to whomever disrupts that film with nonsense.
There are no annoying phone calls that person behind you has to take and crying babies are nearly non-existent.
Midnight movies are bliss. They are simply the best time to enjoy a movie that you love.
With all your devoted movie friends and the other fans freezing in the line with you, suddenly you're a little community. You can order a couple pizzas and share it with the strangers in line behind you, play a few hands of poker or bring a laptop and watch a movie while a crowd gathers around to watch.
My first midnight premiere was in May of 2002. I was a junior in high school then and my friends and I dared convention and attended a midnight showing of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. See, back then a midnight movie premiere was a pretty nerdy thing to do, though it has caught on with the general population in recent years.
It was a warm enough night for that premiere, with lots of friends and plenty of laughs, and although I am pretty sure I caught up on my missing sleep in chemistry class the next day, I was hooked on midnights.
Star Wars: Episode III, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean and even the Spiderman series has pulled me from my nice warm bed and into a cringe-worthy long line in order to be among the first in the Yakima Valley to see a movie.
Thursday night, I add one more to my list. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I begins in 11 hours, 34 minutes and 19 seconds.
Of course, that time stamp reflects when I wrote this. By the time this column lands in your hands the movie will have been out for several hours, or even days. That means you've missed your chance to join me in the line.
What a shame. I know I had fun.
But don't fret. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II is due in theaters July 2011. I'm already making midnight premiere plans...and so should you.