Batman fans flock to midnight showing of 'The Dark Knight'

Dan McDonald

Months of Hollywood hype culminated at one past midnight Friday at AMC Theatres in Framingham.

Five simultaneous screenings for “The Dark Knight.” Five sell-outs. It was all part of a record-breaking midnight showing that netted $18.5 million nationwide, according to The Associated Press.

One online eBay auction for a single ticket to the movie closed Friday at $125.

For Andreas Mavrommatis, the build-up didn't disappoint. Mavrommatis, 18, of Wellesley, suffered through some bodily discomfort to take in the full two-and-a-half hours of cinema magic.

“I ruptured my bladder because I didn't want to be torn away from the events unfolding in front of me,” said Mavrommatis, smoking a cigarette in the AMC parking lot after the film.

Meanwhile, it was a different physical ailment - an allergic reaction - that had Chelsea Brown, 17, of Wellesley, reaching for her inhaler to stave off an asthma attack in the theater.

That did not stop her from enjoying the movie, specifically late actor Heath Ledger's rendition of The Joker.

“I'm not one of those girls who just went to see Heath Ledger, but he is hot,” said Brown as she sat on the curb outside the theater just after 2:30 a.m.

Ledger's January death from an accidental prescription overdose heaped more buzz atop a multi-million dollar campaign intended to market one of the most recognizable comic book icons in the industry's history.

The pre-release mystique shrouding Ledger's role was matched by his performance, which has already garnered Oscar whispers.

“He made the movie,” said Eiot Bush, 18, of Wellesley.

Before the film, a smattering of theater-goers dressed the part to partake in some Joker-esque mischief.

Face flush with multi-colored facepaint and wearing a garishly-colored tie and shirt combo, Taylor Hartstein staged an attack on one of his friends waiting in the concessions line, tackling him to the tiled lobby floor.

Fellow 18-year-old Peter Modest, dressed in a cape with the Batman emblem painted on his bare chest, attempted to swoop in. A police officer on detail at the theater was not impressed with the rogue theatrics and prevented Modest from stopping the pseudo-mugging.

“We were just trying to provide some wholesome entertainment,” said Hartstein, 18, while standing in the lobby.

Modest, who forgot his bat ears at home, noted, “That's the problem with being a superhero nowadays.”

Faux-assaults notwithstanding, Matt Lesbirel, 20, of Natick was less impressed with the energy of the crowd.

“This seems pretty tame,” he said. “I went to the Simpsons pre-screening in Boston and people were getting into fistfights over seats.”

Dan McDonald can be reached at 508-626-4416 or