Is 10 p.m. the New Midnight?
Some studios and theater owners quietly are trying to reenergize late-night business (and change distribution rules) in the wake of the Aurora shooting by opening films the night before their official release date.
Midnight openings have long played a key role in boosting a movie's overall weekend debut. Midnight openings became commonplace in 1999 after Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace and reached an apex when the final Harry Potter film whipped up a record $43.5 million at 12:01 a.m. in July 2011. Even smaller films have benefited from a midnight start. For studio marketers, there was nothing better than rabid fans lining up at midnight to build buzz heading into opening weekend.
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