Large crowds exited the Hoffman AMC megaplex in Alexandria, Virginia, early Friday morning, elated but exhausted after the midnight premier of "The Dark Knight Rises." Some had been in the theater for over nine hours, basking in a special IMAX showing of the entire trilogy. As the throng, many caped and costumed, exited the theater a little after 3 a.m. ET they were met with a surprising solicitation.
At least five people were camped outside attempting to register voters as the tired, greatly under-30 crowd exited the theater. Virginia, it should be noted, is a swing state heavily targeted by the Obama and Romney campaigns.
"Are you registered to vote?" one drive worker asked, as witnessed by this author. "Have you changed where you live recently? You may need to re-register," another young girl, clutching a wooden clipboard packed with voter applications and adorning an Obama sticker on the back, said. Some of them, according to patrons, were seen distributing similar Obama campaign stickers.
Cory Crowley, a moviegoer and Virginia resident, described the scene to TheBlaze: "Here I had been in the theater for some seven hours and in the middle of the night [and] I'm met with a clipboard with stickers all over it on the way to my car," adding, "I was asked three times to register to vote."
When asked if the solicitation seemed partisan, Crowley noted, "Yes, they had blatant Obama stickers."
The Blaze asked one of the solicitors what they were doing outside the theater at such an extreme time: "We're registering voters! There are many young people who go to this kind of stuff and it's important to get to them when you can."
"There were at least five people with Obama clipboards out here tonight," says Arlington resident Louis Tartaglia. "I didn't think it was the best time or place to be registering voters."
Batman aficionado and DC consultant Tommy Sears had been in the theater for 10 hours watching the Batman trilogy and said the voter push seemed partisan..
"It was obviously partisan, I mean thy had Obama stickers on their clipboards," Sears told TheBlaze. "I was not in the mood and just wanted to avoid the whole thing."
Still, another moviegoer, who asked not to be identified, said he was not bothered by the solicitation.
"If they were in the middle of the theater yelling it would be one thing but they were out on the side walk trying to get kids to register," he said. "I'm sure they were not very successful."
"I mean come on? This is Ridiculousness, really," Tartaglia added. "In the end I really just feel bad for the kids volunteering for the campaign and someone says, 'You got the midnight theater shift.'"
"People should be smart enough to register to vote. It seems desperate to me," Crowly said. "I yelled 'Go Mitt Romney!' at them as I was walking to my car."
"They are trying to get hip voters, The Dark Knight is what's happening right now," added Tartaglia. "They knew there will be a mass exodus around 3AM, seemed like they wanted to take advantage of that."
Theater management said there were well over a thousand people in attendance last night when you combine the three sold-out midnight screenings.
Both the Virginia Democratic party and the Obama Campaign of Virginia have been contacted for comment on the story.