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Teens bursting into tears at the anticipation of seeing Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush conducting interviews with a monkey on his shoulders, and fans chanting “Jer-ry! Jer-ry!” were some of the images seen and heard on the 1,000-foot long red carpet that stretched along Main Street, USA, at Disneyland in Anaheim Saturday at Walt Disney Pictures’ premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”
“It’s nuts,” described director Gore Verbinski, as fans thrust notebooks, posters, anything, for him so sign.
A handler walked in advance of Depp on the red carpet, explaining to fans how to comport themselves for autograph signing and picture taking. All for naught, it turned out, as pandemonium reigned wherever the actor was sighted. And heaven help anyone caught in the twister that was Orlando Bloom.
“Look at the sea of faces,” said Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group president Oren Aviv on the red carpet, which was bordered on both sides by upwards of 15,000 fans, young and old. “It’s amazing. You really get to see the power that movies can have when you look around and you see that these lives are affected by what were initially just words on a page.”
Or just a theme park ride. As Disney chairman Dick Cook said, having the premiere at Disneyland was “very appropriate. This is where it all started.”
From such humble beginnings, a billion-dollar franchise was born but how does that weight sit on the shoulders of the makers of the third installment?
“Expectations are a dangerous thing because if you go to a movie and you get what you expect, then you’re not surprised,” said Verbinski. “It’s our job to create something that (the audience hasn’t) expected, that they haven’t imagined. The first time, we were just experimenting, crashing together absurdities and romanticism and seeing what would happen and there was a willingness to fail. So we try to conjure that up each time out.”
Or there’s the Jerry Bruckheimer’s approach: “We have more special effects in one reel of this movie than we had in all of the first movie,” said the producer, adding “The last 40 minutes of this movie is the most exciting filmmaking I’ve been involved with.”
Guests, many of whom paid $1500 a ticket as the premiere benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation and raised over $3 million, enjoyed the run of the park, partaking in rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain.
The movie’s composer Hans Zimmer performed selections of the score with a small orchestra prior to the outdoor screening, which saw the movie digitally projected on a giant screen on the park’s Tom Sawyer Island.
The billion-dollar question now, though, is will there be a fourth movie?
Said Aviv: “The script has been great the last three times, and if there’s a fourth one that’s great, and if Johnny wants to do it, absolutely.”
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