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Jenna Pehrson, left, and Claudia Rodas, both 17 and of Willmar, are fans of the Twilight book series, and neither could miss the opportunity to attend the 12:01 a.m. premiere. "I've read all of the books at least three or four times," Pearson said. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

Fans flock to Willmar theater for first showing of 'Twilight' sequel

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A new moon was rising Thursday night over Carmike Kandi 6 as hundreds of fans packed the theaters for a sold-out midnight showing of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which opens nationwide today.


"We haven't dealt with these types of numbers in years," said Timothy Hoehn, Carmike Kandi 6 manager. "The last time we saw ticket sales like this was in the height of Sonshine several years ago, for both 'Batman' and 'Harry Potter.'"

Sonshine is the three-day Christian music festival that brings 20,000-plus to Willmar each year. Hoehn is surprised at the number of tickets presold for "New Moon," considering the premiere is on a school night.

Tickets for the 12:01 a.m. Friday screening went on sale in early September. The last ticket for a seat in the biggest of the six theaters sold at 4 p.m. Thursday, according to Hoehn.

Because ticket sales exceeded the occupancy of Kandi 6's largest theater, Hoehn had plans Thursday night to open as many screens as needed to accommodate the midnight theater-goers, though he did not anticipate showing the flick on more than three screens.

Fans were still lining up to purchase tickets Thursday evening. Jenna Pehrson and Claudia Rodas, both 17 and of Willmar, are fans of the Twilight book series by Stephanie Meyer.

"I've read all of the books at least three or four times," Pehrson said.

Amanda Johnson and Olivia Charwood, both 20 and of Willmar, were also buying their tickets Thursday night. Both said they had read the entire four-book series in two weeks. Their friend, Tanya Soodsma, 19, has not read the books, but loved "Twilight," the first movie in the series which debuted in 2008.

Kandi 6 was holding a special showing of "Twilight" at 9 p.m. Thursday for fans before the premiere of "New Moon."

Hoehn anticipates high ticket sales to continue throughout the weekend. Only 90 seats remain for the 7 p.m. showing of "New Moon" this evening.

"It will definitely be a "Twilight" weekend," Hoehn says. "This will be the biggest movie for the next three weeks."