I just got back from a late-night showing at Renton, Washington, and want to know if my experience there was significant or an aberration. The theater was about half-full. Mostly teenagers, a few families with older children, a handful of adults. When the film started out, all were quiet except for about three teenagers nearby, who started whispering drug jokes to each other every time a character was smoking a pipe. A bit annoying, but about what I could expect from audiences. Sometime just around Hugo Weaving's first appearance, however, a group of teenagers on the left side of the auditorium must have decided they hated the film, since they started heckling in loud voices. In particular, when virtually any non-combat "serious" or "dramatic" moment happened, they would make jokes and burst out laughing as loudly as possible. Initially, people sitting around them tried whispering at them to be quiet. As the film (and their heckling) went on, though, other people on that side of the auditorium started joining in the laughter. Then some on the right side (including the "drug humor" group mentioned above) started in as well. Then more people in the middle. By the time we got to the final scene, about half the audience was laughing at all the serious parts (particularly when Samwise nearly drowns), to the point that I could barely hear what was going on, and certainly couldn't concentrate on it. As the final credits started, there was even more laughter, along with mocking shouts of "We wuz robbed!" (whether this had to do with a low opinion of the whole film, or the fact that it didn't have a "proper ending," I couldn't tell). The audience emptied quickly -- within a minute, I was the only one sitting there watching the credits. Has anyone else seen this happen? Is it that this film only appeals to Tolkien fans/fantasy fans/adults, and that the only things teenagers want (and will accept) in a movie are lots of explosions and lots of wisecracks? Is it that I had the misfortune of seeing it with an audience of late-night yahoos? Or is it a sign that people are thoroughly conditioned, when they get a "laugh track," to join in regardless of what may really be happening? Please note that I'm not asking what your own opinion of LOTR is, merely what the audience reaction was where you saw it. If the reactions I saw were representative of other screenings, I wouldn't be surprised to see LOTR have a strong opening week, but then drop off the face of the earth in record time.