by Matt Worley
I haven't seen The Avengers yet. I will, probably in the next week. But not yet. It hasn't been convenient to skip work.
A lot of other people went, though. With the biggest opening weekend ever ($207M) and second weekend ($103M estimated), it's the hugest flick of all time. Money wise, at least. Which is nice, since most articles about it mention New Mexico. That's right, I'm a home team fan.
The director, Joss Whedon, was the guy who created "Buffy," which is my favorite TV show of all time. So I'm totally interested, but getting out to a movie on opening day isn't something I do anymore.
Back in 1989 I was supposed to meet a couple of friends for opening night of Batman, but it was sold out (I think one of them got in...buying tickets in advance, what was that?). I went the next day. That movie obliterated opening weekend box office records...with a $40 million gross.
Batman Returns had midnight screenings, and I went to one of those. Then, because I was sort of seeing a girl named Selena (like Catwoman! and she was wearing thigh high boots that night!) who worked at the theater, I saw it again about a half hour later (it was the summer, I was in college, I had no responsibilities to speak of).
In 1999, it took months for me to see The Matrix. I saw it first at the dollar theater (pretty much after the rest of the world). But that same summer, I saw Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace on opening day. A friend and his wife bought tons of tickets to a bunch of showings. I think they saw it three or four times that day. My younger brother went to a midnight showing and then again with me in the evening. I was working at an afternoon newspaper, so I had to get to work before six in the morning. Which would have made for about two hours of sleep if I'd hit the midnight show.
And, at the time, one of my ears was stuffed up with too much ear wax. So I didn't hear the super THX stereo. It was kind of mono with an echo. That wasn't why the movie sucked, but it didn't help. Later that year I'd see The Blair Witch Project on the first day, too. That movie instantly pissed off a bunch of people who fell hard for the Internet marketing campaign that sold a kind of annoying "found footage" horror flick. I went on a lark.
1999 was the best year since I've been going to movies. Fight Club, The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, Office Space, Election and American Beauty came out, to name a few. Three of those were huge hits, three others were, eventually, cult classics.
Avengers was largely shot in and around Albuquerque last summer. I joked to a friend that I was going to seduce Scarlett Johansson while she was in town. He then told me what hotel she was staying in. So I had to confess that I am a lazy man (who wouldn't ever go out of his way to meet a movie star), and was just joking around. I didn't see any of the Avengers while they were in town.
But I did see the yellow signs that marked productions around town. The code name for Avengers was Group Hug, and there are direction signs (always yellow and black with arrows) that hang on street light poles when a production is shooting at a location (other than the studios). So there were yellow direction signs with GH on them from time to time.
Now, as "Breaking Bad "is shooting the first half of its last season, I see the yellow direction signs with WW on them (for Walter White, duh). Another TV show that shot in Albuquerque (until just recently) was In Plain Sight. They were less creative. It was just IPS.
I accidentally went to the first Spider-Man on opening day. I'd skipped work that day because I was just beat and in a break between reports. It was, literally, about an hour before going that I said to my brother, "Hey, want to see that Spider-Man?" A few weeks later, when the second Star Wars prequel came out, one of the girls at work was skipping to go see that. She justified skipping because I'd done the same for Spider-Man. I had to clarify that I skipped to skip, it was an afterthought to go to the movie. She was really annoying me at the time, so I might have been a prick about it.
Friday would have been a good day to skip into the Avengers, but for some reason, I went into work so I could do pretty much nothing.
So I'll have to see how this next week plays out. I feel a cold coming on.
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