I had bought tickets in advance for the first session (it opened nationally today) at 9:50am, and my friend and I arrived at the cinema at 8:40am, well in advance we thought to be able to line up and get the seats we wanted. When we got to the cinema, there was already a lineup outside and it didn't open until 9am. When the doors finally did open. everyone ran up the stairs to get in line. It was a strange and exhilirating moment with everyone sprinting up the stairs with wild enthusiasm, keen to see this film.
When I emerged from the cinema, the lines for the next sessions were sprawled around the central escalators/stairs and then back around the other side. There were lines for about three different sessions at one time, and it seemed as if no one had come to see any other film. I also attended a 1:50pm session, which meant I had to line up as soon as I got out of the first session. Both sessions were completely full. And this cinema isn't in the city centre, it's a suburban cinema (albeit one of the largest in Brisbane).
The response was also very positive with everyone enjoying the banter between Gollum and Sam especially. And Gimli's comic relief.
Being there at the same time last year, there was definitely a more excitable vibe.