At the time of writing, Southampton’s Union Films leads its only significant rival by 13% in the race to hold the premiere of The Disappearance of Alice Creed on the 30th April. In the name of Research, one Wessex Scene reporter went to a world premiere in London to find out what we may have the chance to live up to.
The epic action movie, Clash of the Titans, premiered on Monday to a packed Leicester Square, the traditional home of such an event. Amongst the cast in attendance were Sam Worthington of Avatar fame and a certain Gemma Arterton, star of The Disappearance of Alice Creed itself.
The Square had been given a general ‘Titan’ theme with mock pillars and statues adorning the red carpet. Warner Bros. had even hired a unit of suspiciously well-tanned Titans to parade around to add to the atmosphere. Union Films should already be looking for ways of emulating this technique if they are successful in their bid, though the theme of a hostage movie may be a little harder to find props for – somehow duct tape doesn’t quite evoke the glamour of a premiere.
Most of the space, even at a considerable venue such as Leicester Square, must be used for media purposes. The paparazzi are first in line as they unleash a volley of blinding flashes at the vulnerable celebrities below. Next, there are many television companies from all around the world who have reporters and cameramen seeking soundbites and footage they can upload on to YouTube. A few more interviews later and the weary stars are struggling to keep their fixed smile in place. Little regard is paid to the small army of fans behind the rope who wave and scream in the hope of obtaining an autograph or photo and when an actor does look up they are usually shepherded back to the Press by a stern member of their PR team.
But the public, who are after all the effective employers of Movieland, are occasionally gratified by a particularly conscientious actor and it is immediately clear why there would be such reluctantance. A hundred arms shoot out towards them, some clasping photos for them to sign, others just seeking a handshake whilst the air is full of deafening screams. “Saaaam!!” screeches a bearded lady in front of me as Mr Worthington approaches. Another middle-aged lady elbows me in the ribs in an effort for a photo with a man who was practically unknown a year ago. Thus, it does not surprse me when a fellow onlooker informed me that it was ‘”mental” when Johnny Depp last set foot in the Square. It is difficult to predict how Southampton’s students will react if we hold the premiere but it would be wise to invest in Security nonetheless.
Miss Arterton also came across to the fans and I was hoping to ask her a few questions about Alice Creed. But under the conditions it was not possible and to be fair the former Bond girl was rather busy as she had to leave the premiere to star in a West End theatre production before returning for the afteparty.
Instead I made do with a woman who has spent the last 15 years travelling the globe to attend film premieres. “Leicester Square is the best place in the world because the whole area is dedicated to the event. In Hollywood they just hold them opposite a normal cinema and there’s no space.” When asked what was the key factor in a good premiere she replied “it’s mainly the celebrities who show up but you also need room so that everyone gets a look in.”
Despite Monday’s bad weather and despite my sore ribs, the simple conclusion of the event was that it was very exciting. A real effort is made by the studio to lay on a show and even the most ardent critics of our celebrity culture admit to being a little starstruck when they meet someone from the Big Screen. The prospect of holding our own premiere is thrilling and it would be a major event in the University’s calendar.
To make sure that we have this chance, please vote now. The top ten fans who have voted will win 10 pairs of tickets to Union Films screenings of their choice. The competition closes April 5th.