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Throngs of fans braved rainy weather for the Canadian red carpet premiere of Twilight: New Moon , the highly anticipated second instalment in the blockbuster vampire romance franchise.

Sidewalks in front of Toronto's Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre were lined with enthusiastic fans, or Twi-hards as they call themselves, eager to catch a glimpse of stars from the film Thursday night.

Some of them had won tickets to the premiere through contests or other promotions, which got them access to the first screening hours before it unspooled at evening shows across the country.

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Alyssa Nevardauskis, 17, arrived four hours early and wound up being at the front of the line.

"We want to be one of the first people to see the movie," she said. "We were here when they started setting up."

Her sister, Candis, said the wait gave her time to mingle with other fans eager to see the first Canadian screening.

"Everybody is obsessed with the movie," she said.

"So when you're here there's just an awesome energy buzzing around from everyone. I could just be seeing the movie tonight and that would be more than enough."

New Moon picks up from where the first film left off, and fans were eager to see how the film differed from the book.

Outside the theatre, the action was relatively tame, possibly because none of the main cast members, including Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart, were on hand.

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There was the occasional scream from a fan, and plenty of flashbulbs for cast members Justin Chon, a high-school student in the series, and Billy Burke, who plays Bella's father.

"It's a pretty huge deal," Burke said of the Twilight franchise, noting that he's spent most of his career playing smaller roles in Hollywood films like Untraceable and Fracture .

"It's nice to be a part of something that people are watching for a change," he added.

The real excitement was inside the theatre when the lights went down, and fans started to scream with anticipation as the screening got under way. The loudest cheers came when Lautner appeared on screen.

After the screening fans boasted about the experience.

"The fight scenes were incredible," said Bella Verni, who was celebrating her birthday. "My name is Bella, so it all works out."

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But did she think this was better than the first movie?

"Yes, all the way!" she said.

Natalie Brown, star of the CBC series Sophie , said that she had to catch up on the Twilight sensation before the premiere.

"I'm a late bloomer," Brown added, saying she recently caught the movie for the first time on cable.

"Now I understand what all the hype is about."

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