HUNDREDS of moviegoers streamed into Hunter cinemas yesterday to catch the traditional first screenings of blockbusters on Boxing Day.
For one Hunter clan it was not a choice of whether to see one of the big drawcards, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or Les Miserables.
Fifteen members of the Boyden family saw both pictures at Event Cinemas Glendale. It was a movie marathon that lasted almost six hours.
Keely Boyden, 19, of Charlestown, said she particularly wanted to see The Hobbit because she was ‘‘obsessed with Lord of the Rings’’.
‘‘I didn’t want it to end,’’ Ms Boyden said of the film, which lasted two hours and 50 minutes.
Her step-grandmother, Belmont’s Lynda Cameron, said the family saw The Hobbit at 11am and Les Miserables at 4pm.
‘‘It was something different to do and they’re both really good movies,’’ she said.
Event Cinemas, which owns cinemas in Newcastle and Glendale, said The Hobbit was the day’s most popular film.
The cinemas’ general manager Garth Weiley said the public holiday and cooler weather drove people to the movies.
‘‘We had forecast numbers based on previous years, but it was beyond our expectations,’’ Mr Weiley said.
Mr Weiley said Hunter movie fans were spoilt for choice, with more competition in the market.
‘‘We have a lot of cinemas in the Hunter now, with more content on screen than ever before,’’ Mr Weiley said.
‘‘Tower Cinemas in Newcastle is changing to be more alternate, with arthouse cinema.
‘‘People aren’t just getting the Hollywood blockbusters, they’re also getting the more obscure releases.’’
Cousins Jennifer Harrison, of Swansea, and Susan Gollan, of Waratah, went to see Les Miserables yesterday.
They were particularly interested in seeing the performances of Aussies Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.
Despite the proliferation of widescreen TV, Ms Harrison said she ‘‘still likes the big screen’’ at the movies.
‘‘It’s bigger, better, more real and more exciting,’’ Ms Harrison said.
Ms Gollan said the movies evoked childhood memories.
While The Hobbit was the star performer yesterday, Mr Weiley predicted kids’ flick Wreck It Ralph would ‘‘really take off’’ as the school holidays progressed.
Argenton’s Amanda Arnold, 31, took 9-year-old son Dane to see the film.
‘‘It was a really good kids’ movie,’’ Ms Arnold said.
Tell us about a movie you saw recently. Are you planning to see any more this festive season break?