Red carpet premieres for big budget movies always look exciting on TV. The fan energy, glamor, and the gorgeous celebrities walking along the carpet to do interviews with the press and interact with the fans always seemed like it would be a fun experience to witness live. Thanks to my long-time childhood best friend, she discovered and scored free passes to one of these fancy red carpet movie premieres. The premiere we attended was for this summer’s next highly anticipated comic book movie to be released––X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The premiere itself took place on Saturday at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, which if anyone didn’t already know, I’m a local New Yorker. I personally didn’t know what to expect from the premiere. My friend told me there would be stars from the film in attendance at the convention center (the same place where New York Comic Con is held every year). If you’re lucky enough to be the first 500 on line, you’ll nab free tickets to see the movie before it officially opens nationwide on May 23 for Memorial Day weekend.
My friend wanted to see if we’d be lucky enough to get the movie passes and this meant lining up at the Javits Center really early. The doors didn’t open for the public until 4pm and me and my friend started falling in line at 11am. The more hardcore fans were rumored to have camped outside of the convention since 12am the previous night. We weren’t that crazy, but you can see that we’re in for a really long day of waiting. We did come prepared. We brought our own food, drinks, and snacks. The weather that day predicted sun with a chance of rain later in the afternoon. We made sure to have our umbrellas and plastic bags to use as a place to sit on if the ground became wet. Let’s face it––standing outside for several hours wasn’t going to be pleasant. At some point, you’re going to want to just sit on the hard concrete floor.
The first few hours of waiting is always the worst. Time crawls ever so slowly and you wonder if 4pm will ever arrive. We did meet up with one of my friend’s friends who attended the event and we got on line with him. Her friend was one of the few cosplaying as their favorite X-Men character and he was Wolverine. The toughest part about waiting on line is if you’re in a spot where the sun is baring down on you, and the temperature was near 80 degrees that day. The wait would have been tolerable if it wasn’t too hot that day. Luckily, it did eventually rain as predicted and the air cooled down a bit after that. What helped make the time go faster was the two of us talking to each other and making friends with other strangers on the line with us. Shared pain and exhaustion truly bonds people together.
By mid-afternoon, staff people for the event started handing out silver wristbands which ensured we were the first 500 to be able to see the movie before the official release date! Looks like our efforts have been rewarded. When the doors opened and we were allowed inside, we didn’t realize that by having the limited amount of wristbands they gave out to the crowd meant we’d also be placed in a room of the Javits Center where 500 of us got to exclusively be with the press people and photographers who were on hand to talk and snap photos of the stars as they came in. The rest who didn’t have a silver wristband were on the main floor of the convention center and were allowed to just watch the stars and maybe get an autograph and photo with them as they entered the building. It also didn’t occur to me that this premiere was a big deal until it was announced in the room we were in that we’re part of THE global premiere for the movie. That meant, NYC was the first stop in this movie’s tour. By the time of this post, the cast of X-Men would have had their premiere in London. Saturday’s event was even live streamed on Yahoo. Not too shabby for a first time experience at a star-studded red carpet event.
While it was exciting to be in that exclusive room, that also meant more standing and waiting until the stars started entering the press area. That took an extra two hours. When me and my friend were directed to stand in the “fan pit,” we were unfortunately stuck in the very back. We’re both short girls and it’s difficult to see much in front of you when you have tall people standing in front of you. We did manage somehow.
During the wait time, “Scary” Jones of local radio station Z100 was in attendance throwing out trivia questions for autographed T-shirts and posters signed by Hugh Jackman. By 7pm, the stars of the movie started entering the room to do their press duties. The first one to appear was Hugh Jackman. After him, it really became a flood of well-known and newcomer actors of the film. The bigger names like Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, and more were in attendance. I was certainly starstruck, but not in a fangirl crazy way. It was more like a feeling of, “Wow, I’m in the same room as all these widely known actors whose movies I’ve been watching for a while now. I don’t think I’ll ever be in the same room with these actors again.”
As you’ll see from the photos below, I took what I could being all the way in the back. Thank God for super zoom on cameras. Many stars waved to their fans from the press and photographer pit. The one thing my friend did note, and she found disappointing, was how not many of the stars went up to really engage with their fans. The only ones who did were Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence. In fact, when Jennifer Lawrence entered the room, rather than walk straight to the press side, she went for her fans first. This girl is really beautiful and as down to earth as everyone says she is in person. Such an awesome actress to care more about her fans that she let the press wait until she was finished meeting with her admirers before answering questions.
Once the premiere was over, we were all told to head to the theater where the movie was being shown. The only annoying thing about that was we had to walk the few blocks and two avenues to the AMC Loews on 34th Street from the convention. It would have made sense to show it at the Javits, but we’re not in charge of how they arrange these things. Of course, being one of the first of many to see the movie before its release, we had to check in all electronic devices capable of snapping photos or recording. When we got to our seats and the movie started, I was blown away by the movie from start to finish. In my opinion, any X-Men fan will love this movie and Bryan Singer did a great job of bridging the original X-Men cast with the First Class cast.
So how do I feel about the overall experience of going to a big time red carpet event? While it was exciting and I did enjoy the experience, I personally don’t think I would do this again. The wait time and some terrible crowd mismanagement in certain situations, which I won’t go into detail here, makes it too much of a hassle to bother. Or maybe me and my friend feel we’re simply getting too old to be camping out for long periods of time just to make sure we’d get into the event at all. I’m perfectly fine watching these fancy premieres from the comfort of my own home and paying to see a movie I wanted to see anyway. Regardless, it has been a memorable experience and at least I can say I attended a big time movie premiere in my lifetime and got to be in the same room as these celebrities. I can’t say this stuff happens too often to too many people.
Check out the photos below I managed to take from the premiere!