And then it was show time. The movie, "9/11: Explosive Evidence -- Experts Speak Out," is a 2-hour and 16 minute assault of ominous music and dozens of structural engineers and architects making allegations about a "travesty of justice" and "an orchestrated cover-up."
They cite evidence that they insist proves the buildings collapsed because of controlled explosions and not by fires that raged unchecked and caused the buildings' structural supports to weaken and fail.
Applause rippled across the theater when the lights went up. One audience member stood and spoke to the crowd. "There has to be a revolution in this country!" he said. "They are lying to enslave and manipulate us!" Heads nodded and hands clapped.
"I didn't know what I was coming to see. My friend dragged me here," Nydia Carrion, a billing supervisor from Long Island, NY, said as she headed into the rainy New York night.
"I think it is true what they are saying: The buildings were blown up," she said. "Asked who might be behind such a conspiracy, she said, "Probably the government, I hate to say."
Dr. Gene Corley, past president of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, led one of the forensic investigations of the World Trade Center collapse. He has not seen the movie, but said he familiar with its allegations.
"To some degree it is junk science; to perhaps a large degree it is ignoring science -- not facing the facts of what is there on the video footage, on the still photographs, the investigations of what really happened," he said.
"Popular Mechanics" examined the most persistent conspiracy theories, including the controlled demolition claim, in a 2005 book, "Debunking 9/11 Myths," and found no evidence to support any of them. The book has been updated and reissued, for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, to reflect the always evolving conspiracy claims, said the magazine's editor in chief, James Meigs.
"We take their best arguments and we fact check them. And again and again and again, we find out they are based on misconceptions and misreading evidence -- and in some cases they are made out of full cloth," he said.
Former New York City Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, whose department lost 343 firefighters and paramedics when the 110-story Twin Towers collapsed, said he initially paid no attention to the conspiracy theories. His reactions now range from anger to disbelief.
"Our government … can be a very incompetent and inefficient government, but I don't think it is dishonest," he said, "and the way our media is in this country, I don't think you could get away with it."
The truthers are unbowed. At the New York screening of "9/11: Explosive Evidence -- Experts Speak Out," an organizer told the crowd that the facts were on their side.
"This is a very serious situation," he said. "This is not a problem of information. There is plenty of information. It's a problem of organization."