Aug. 30--It may have been a school night, but teens and their chaperones flocked to theaters Thursday night to catch the premier of "One Direction: This is Us."
Clad in pink, Jillian Zerby was neither.
First in a line of about 40 people at the R/C Reading Movies 11 and Imax, Zerby, 28, arrived more than three hours before showtime to see her favorite band on the silver screen.
"I could spend hours just watching their videos on YouTube," said Zerby, 28, of Sinking Spring. "They make me calm. I like their music."
The documentary chronicles the band's assent to fame after it debuted in 2010 on the British TV show "The X Factor." Its five members auditioned individually for the competition but failed to progress. Simon Cowell then assembled the band for the group audition, and the newly formed One Direction finished third in the overall contest.
With the help of social media, the boy band is now an international sensation, having sold 19 million singles and 10 million albums.
Zerby has attended seven One Direction concerts across the North East and appears twice in the movie during crowd shots.
She dons a One Direction lanyard at Muhlenberg Middle School, where she assists special education students.
"I absolutely love it, but I'm probably biased because I'm a fan," Zerby of said of the movie, which she already saw during a pre-screening in Philadelphia. "It gives a good insight into the fans but also into (the band's) background and how they grew up and what their family thinks about it and their relationship with their fans and just who they are."
With their squeaky-clean image, One Direction is often likened to The Beatles, and Kathy Clay, 52, said she understands why.
Armed with ear plugs, she accompanied her two granddaughters, Emily Bell, 13, and Cecilia Clay, 13, to the premier.
"I have been to a concert, and I know how they scream, their little high-pitched voices" said Kathy of Oley Township. "I understand all the hype. You had The Beatles and The Monkees and The Partridge Family when I was younger."
Others, like Juan Guerrero, weren't as excited. The only male in the line, Guerrero, 18, of Reading came early to save seats for two of his female friends. "They sing good music," he said, "but I don't really like them."
Contact Elyssa Cherney: 610-371-5038 or email@example.com.
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