At Union Square, Fans Lined for Dark Knight Rises Midnight Showing

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By Paul Bisceglio

It wasn't the line New York deserved, but the one it had to wait in last night to see Batman.

Movie nerds, comic book nerds and their reluctant significant others alike lined 13th Street at Union Square's Regal Stadium 14 yesterday for the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, the highly anticipated final installment of director Christopher Nolan's fan-favorite Batman trilogy.

By 5:15 p.m., around 30 eager viewers stood along a roped off section of the sidewalk that a security guard was extending along the block as the line grew. The line was a little misleading, however: at 6:30 p.m., two of the theater's screens were showing the trilogy's previous two films as a lead up to the new movie's midnight premier, and the vast majority of people were there for this Batman marathon. That's close to eight hours of the caped crusader -- and the waiting fans couldn't be happier.

"Been waiting for this one since the day the last one came out," one man said.

"Some people think [waiting in line for movies] is crazy," a woman said, "but it's just part of the experience. It's just as much a part of the event as the movie is."

"People talk about the The Avengers, Spider Man," another said, "but for me, it's all about Dark Knight Rises. [The Batman movie series] is just on another level."

The security guard noted that there was in fact another line in the building. The marathon was showing on two screens, so viewers who had tickets to the one on the top floor were permitted to wait inside.

At least one tenacious fan was out staking his claim for the midnight showing. A man about 20 people deep in the outdoor line said he didn't know about the marathon showing, and that he panicked when he saw the crowd gathering. He laughed that at least now he and his friends would get the best seats -- right in the middle after the aisle divide, with plenty of room to stretch legs.

Waiting in line would be a lot of funny anyways, he said. "My friends are going to show up soon with pizzas. Everyone hangs out and has a good time."

Asked how long the line would extend by midnight, the security guard simply pointed down 13th Street. The theater has 14 screens, she said. All of them were showing the Dark Knight Rises, and all of them were sold out.

The line got a few disdainful looks from passersby, but in typical New York fashion, most pedestrians didn't give it a second glance. One young boy had the right attitude, though: "Please can we get in line, please?" he pleaded with his mom, who had to drag him along the sidewalk to keep him moving. "It will be like a sleepover!"

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