Film analysts won't know until Monday whether grosses from Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" indicate a hit or a miss, but there was no question among the mob that filed out of one of the dozens of special midnight screenings across the Southland on Thursday. It's a hit.
"It was fabulous!" said an excited Sally Bental, 49, as she and her 13-year-old son, Dotan, came out of a screening at the Sherman Oaks General Cinema. Bental and her son, of Tarzana, had waited in line since 9 p.m. with the Dick Tracy T-shirts they had bought as admission tickets.
" 'Dick Tracy' took place in a comic book world. You don't normally see a film in such striking primary colors," said Bental, who admits to being an avid fan of the Dick Tracy strip. Regarding Beatty as the Yellow Knight, she said, "Who says you can't be over 50 and still fight crime?"
None of the patrons questioned on the way out of the theater in the early morning hour complained about paying the $12 admission, which included the movie and a T-shirt reading "I Was There First."
"The shirts are a nice touch and $12 is a good buy," said Sandra Sparr, 29, of Sepulveda. "Heck, a T-shirt alone can cost you $12." She looked at the others in line. "And besides, it gives the whole thing a neat atmosphere because we're all wearing the same shirt."
Matthew Flynn, 24, of Encino liked the T-shirts and felt the film paid off, too. "It was like art on the screen. It was beyond my expectations: it looked great and had a great ending which took everyone off guard. I think Beatty succeeded in spades."
Kris Strobeck, 24, of Studio City smiled when asked about the film. "I'm responding to the hype," she said. "It looks really well-crafted, a creative film on all levels. It's fun to do this in the middle of the night. It makes it an event."
Meanwhile, earlier Thursday night in Orlando, Beatty and co-star Dustin Hoffman appeared before a boisterous crowd of about 3,000 people who came to see the world premiere at a theater near the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park.
Madonna, who portrays the temptress-songstress Breathless Mahoney, canceled her appearance, citing a viral throat infection. The singer also canceled her "Blond Ambition" tour performances tonight and Saturday at The Spectrum in Philadelphia.
Al Pacino, who plays villain Big Boy Caprice, also canceled because he is working on another movie, said Charles Ridgeway, a Disney spokesman said.