COLUMBIA – Amanda Centobie and her daughters Breana and Cesilie stood outside the Goodrich Forum 8 movie theater Thursday night wearing matching homemade t-shirts, saying 'Never judge a book by its cover' on the front and 'The book was better' on the back.
They were there, along with many others, to see an advanced screening of "The Fault in Our Stars," a film based on John Green's bestselling novel. They have the potential to be a tough crowd.
"We're going to pick the movie apart," Breana said.
The family has a tradition of attending movie openings for films based on books they've read. Amanda said she intends to make shirt patches to represent each movie they attend as a way to remember each family outing. For "The Fault in Our Stars," the patch will say 'Okay,' a word that the book's two main characters use to express their love for one another.
Regal Columbia Stadium 14 held 9 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and midnight screenings of the film. Forum 8 held 9 p.m. and midnight screenings. At both locations, teenage girls huddled excitedly in the lobbies and theaters as they waited to see the love story unfold. Several wore merchandise featuring the designs of the book cover or quotes from the books.
MU student Ryan Bahr, one of four men in the Goodrich Forum 8 before the film began, said he almost came to the movie by himself before finding friends and fellow fans, such as Elise Earley, to go with him.
Earley said she enjoyed Green's realistic approach to the subject.
"It made me laugh just as much as it made me cry," Earley said. "I appreciated that it was an effort to show reality rather than some teenage stupid romance. It wasn't where they fell in love and everything else is just a tragedy. I appreciated that Hazel is so real."
Avid reader Ainsley Statham said it had become her new favorite book, despite her typical aversion to romance.
"You just get so emotionally invested in the characters and fall in love with them," she said.
Statham bonded with a group of Southern Boone High School students in the theater as they discussed why this book meant so much to them.
"It makes you want to value the time you have and not take people for granted," Statham said.
Green's book, published in January 2012, has sold 10.7 million copies and has spent 78 weeks on The New York Time's Young Adult bestseller chart. The movie, which opens Friday, stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff.
Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.