SALT LAKE CITY — Megaplex Theatres became the home of Marvel movies during the week.
More than 100 super fans piled into two theaters at the Megaplex Theatres at The District in South Jordan to watch 22 Marvel films, back-to-back. The marathon billed itself as a near-60-hour experience.
And that’s what it was. More than 61 total hours of watching films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Moviegoers brought pillows, blankets and pajamas to spend the nights. Some performed pushups and crunches to stay awake.
Others went on runs and walks around the building. The theater buzzed for three straight days as fans waited to see “Avengers: Endgame,” which debuted Thursday night.
Jeff Whipple, a spokesman for Megaplex Theatres, said “there’s something so tribal” when it comes to these Marvel films, uniting fans together.
He said fans love coming together for big events like this. Throughout the event, Whipple said Utah remains at the top of the list on Google Trends for “Avengers” content, which made the state a perfect fit for this movie marathon, which was only available in 12 markets across North America.
Whipple said Megaplex Theatres had an extensive “battle plan” before the event began. He said the plan included asking employees to volunteer overnight. And, he said, Megaplex created two “SWAT teams,” who would go into the two theaters used in the marathon to clean them out in preparation for more “Avengers: Endgame” showings.
“This was in our battle plan from the beginning,” he said.
Jakob Jensen, director of health communication and technology at the University of Utah, was one of the fans in attendance. When he first spoke to the Deseret News on Tuesday, he wore a T-shirt and jeans. By the end, he was dressed as superhero Doctor Strange, who is played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel films.
Jensen said he “knocked out” his budget season at work, so he treated the experience as a reward for getting his work done early.
Jensen said he thought the marathon was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so he couldn’t miss it.
“I wanted to see who goes to a movie marathon,” he said.
Jensen said he never watched “The Incredible Hulk” with Edward Norton, which was the second film in the marathon. He said he enjoyed it more than he thought but that it was “a little too dark” and “more like a DC movie.”
Jensen said watching the early Marvel films, like “Iron Man” (2008), made him recontextualize the “Avengers: Endgame” trailer, which begins with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sitting alone on a spacecraft.
“It’s Iron Man’s story,” he said.
“Avengers: Endgame” arrives in the same year as another concluding movie — “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Jensen said he wanted to attend the Marvel marathon to fully embrace a year full of pop culture milestones.
“They’re both sort of the climax to an ongoing saga. I just thought, you know, let’s get in the spirit of 2019 and go all-in on this,” he said.