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'The Avengers' Midnight Screening Crowd Tells Us Which Summer Blockbusters Will Succeed

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May 04, 2012 | 8:02am EDT

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ALT Last night I made the crazy decision to go see a midnight screening of The Avengers(Note to self: You can't pull an all-nighter like you used to.) After waiting in long lines to get to the theater and to get my medium-sized popcorn (no, I would not like a large for 50 cents more) and sitting for half an hour with a raucous crowd, it dawned on me that these are the people that Hollywood plans to court all summer long. Sitting beside me were the fanboys and movie diehards. These were the crazy souls that would ruin their productivity on a Friday at work because they couldn't possibly wait 12 more hours to see the movie they were dying to check out.

Each tentpole movie and potential blockbuster is marketed towards these people, who will then go and either praise it or trash it which will mean either a billion-dollar box office return or a spot on every entertainment website's inevitable World's Biggest Bombs slide show. Based on that, here is how the crowd reacted to all the trailers played before The Avengers and what that might mean for each movie's prospects.

The Dark Knight Rises: There was some issues with the projection when the movie started so you could hear that there was music playing, but all we could see the "Please Turn Off Your Cell Phones" screen. When the crowd heard the indelible line, "A storm is coming," they all knew what they were missing and started to freak the freak out. It was the Batman trailer we were promised. The trailer flicked on and off a few times; each time it flicked on, there was cheering and each time it flicked off, the crowd let out an "Awww."

Initial Applause: Great, once they knew what they were missing.

Final Applause: Good.

Verdict: The fact that everyone knew the trailer without even seeing it is an excellent sign. Everyone is dying to see this.

Brave: The longest trailer yet for Pixar's first foray into female protagonists showed more of the "magic" of the film.

Initial Applause: Quiet.

Final Applause: Good, if a little smattering.

Verdict: Everyone seemed enthused if not enthusiastic. Then again, there was only one pre-teen in the audience (for shame, his mom!), so this wasn't really the movie's core audience.

The Dictator: The new Sacha Baron Cohen movie has had its commercial roll before movies for months now.

Initial Applause: A few titters during the trailer. People laughed at the broad jokes.

Final Applause: None.

Verdict: If they're still laughing this long after the trailer debuted, there is hope.

The Amazing Spider-Man: The newest trailer for this reboot debuted before the movie last night (and is now online), and everyone was completely silent as it rolled.

Initial Applause: Very good. A few hoots and hollers.

Final Applause: Good, but not overwhelming. One guy in the balcony screamed, "F**k Yeah!"

Verdict: An ardent fanbase mixed with indecision predicts this will be a hit... but not of The Dark Knight proportions. (Then again, what is?)

Battleship: A new feature shows us lots of explosions, lots of aliens, and only a little bit of Rihanna. Are there people in the movie or only special effects?

Initial Applause: None.

Final Applause: Well, do you call booing applause? If so, there was lots of it.

Verdict: Could Battleship already be sunk?

Prometheus: Is it just me or does it seem like this thing has a million trailers? Last night's, however, was the best one yet.

Initial Applause: Rousing, with a few gasps of excitement in my general vicinity.

Final Applause: Explosive. The people on either side of me said immediately to their companions, "I can't wait to see that."

Verdict: This looks to be the summer box office champion... if it can beat out Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

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