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T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News
Lauren Muhlestein, 12, of Riverton, waits in line during a release celebration for the "Twilight: New Moon" DVD at Walmart in Riverton late Friday. Some 5,000 fans crowded the store in hopes of rubbing shoulders with "New Moon" actors Justin Chon (Eric), Michael Welch (Mike) and Christian Serratos (Angela).

As a true testament to the "Twilight" phenomenon, the midnight release of "Twilight Saga: New Moon" drew more than 5,000 people to the Riverton Walmart Supercenter Friday night, all of them clamoring at the door for a chance to brush shoulders with cast members and get their hands on one of the 300 signed special edition DVDs with bonus scenes from "Eclipse," the third movie in the "Twilight" saga.

Riverton resident Erin Thompson and her friends Tina Powell and Mindy Pehrson headed the line. A self-proclaimed "Twi-mom," Thompson said she had been standing in line since noon to snag a signed copy for her "Twilight" memorabilia collection.

"This is nuts, this is so crazy," Thompson said. "We went to the movie opening and this is the worst it's ever been."

Pehrson had also been in line since 12:30 p.m. with her son, James, who said his favorite thing about "Twilight" is "how there's a love triangle between Edward, Bella and Jacob."

Pehrson said she plans on watching the movie as soon as they get home.

"We are so excited, we can't wait," she said. "We've watched it on the Internet and we are psyched."

Scott Trudo, Riverton Walmart general manager, said his staff has been preparing for three weeks for the event and has worked on everything from ordering extra security to getting the games ready.

"It's been a lot of fun because a lot of the associates here are 'Twilight' fans," Trudo said, "so they helped design their own shirts and they're wearing them tonight."

Trudo said the 1,000 copies of the Walmart exclusive Ultimate Fan Edition are a big draw for the store, which led the nation in "Twilight" DVD sales at the last release.

Three of the cast members slated to make an appearance, Justin Chon (Eric), Michael Welch (Mike) and Christian Serratos (Angela), said they expected the chaos that comes with "Twilight."

"I would be, frankly, surprised if the DVD release wasn't just as crazy as every other part of this franchise," Welch said. "When the books come out it's a crazy thing, when the movie comes out it's a crazy thing, when Rob (Pattinson) is on the cover of GQ sales are up 40 percent of any GQ, ever, so I would expect nothing less from these magnificent, crazy, wonderful fans," he said.

Welch said the cast enjoys getting to meet personally with the fans who have contributed to their success.

"We will be able to shake hands and look in people's eyes and kiss babies just like we're running for president," Welch said. "It's almost the least we can do; it's only because of them that this thing is a big deal at all. I'm replaceable, they're not," he said.

e-mail: amears@desnews.com