NEW YORK — November 20 has been a long time coming for devotees of the "Twilight" saga, and at a movie theater in Times Square, fans from around the world congregated long before midnight to witness Chris Weitz's adaptation of "New Moon," the second book in Stephenie Meyer's series. While there were those who were disappointed ("It did not live up to expectations at all," griped Melissa Paipan from Manhattan), the general consensus was that it was, as Jordana de la Cruz from Rhode Island gushed, "the best movie in the entire universe and more."

"We bought our tickets ... literally, the day they came out," Lauren from Brooklyn told MTV News. Many who attended the midnight screening said they purchased tickets as early as September. Many had also prepared for the occasion by re-reading passages from the novel, watching the movie's trailers online, and re-watching the first movie.

"We got here at 5 o'clock, as soon as we got out of class," said Samantha Martone, a student from New Jersey who wanted to insure that she and her friend would get good seats. As the time drew nearer, Stephanie Thomas from New Jersey (who drove from Rutgers University with a friend) described the scene as "kind of madness." Some fans even came in costume or dressed up in their best store-bought or homemade "Twilight" T-shirts.

"There was a guy who looked just like Edward, it was crazy," Ashley Harrison from Australia said.

Many told us that not only did "New Moon" exceed their expectations, it eclipsed (no pun intended) 2008's "Twilight." That was thanks to splashier special effects and the debut of the Volturi ("They fight a good battle," explained Angelica Diaz from Brooklyn) and the wolf pack. Plus there was Taylor Lautner's new, muscular body — a favorite topic amongst the flick's throngs of female fans.

"I have a little tiny crush on him now," a staunch Team Edward fan admitted. "He looked really hot!" declared Twilight Mom Sandy Moffit from Illinois, initially wary of admitting that Lautner's pumping iron had paid off for, well, legal reasons. Several girls even considered a moment when he removed his shirt and the many close-ups of his new physique to be among the film's highlights.

And then there was its ending.

"They left off in a cliff-hanger, so I'm definitely way excited," Sherrilyn Bradar from the Bronx said. Without giving away any spoilers, the movie cuts immediately to black after a critical scene. Habiba Tinubu recounted that at the movie's conclusion, "everyone just screamed ... and were shocked that it ended."

It was an ending designed to whet an appetite for "Eclipse," the third installment, which will be in theaters June 30, 2010. But until then, fans like Marianna Randazzo from New York will be catching "New Moon" several times in theaters. She planned on seeing it "three or four times" by Sunday evening.