"We're not here for a premiere, we're not here for the stars, we're here to make history thanks to you!" A roar of applause echoed through the parking lot at Tempe Marketplace as Dan Harkins, owner of Harkins Theaters, thanked a crowd for bringing the world premiere of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to Tempe.
Seeing the thousands of Wolverine fans packed into a now dwarfed parking lot makes it hard to believe that just a little over a week ago we reported Tempe had won an online contest to bring the premiere to Arizona. Yet, just like the star-studded premieres from L.A. and New York that we're used to seeing in our living rooms, all the trappings were there.
As Hugh Jackman promised in his video announcing the winning city, a "whole heap of red carpet" lined the path to Harkins Theater at Tempe Marketplace but before the movie stars arrived it played host to a selection of B-listers such as American Gladiator The Wolf, American Idol contestant Scott MacIntyre and this guy.
Cameras were sticking out of just about everywhere whether they were in the hands of professionals standing on milk crates to shoot above their compatriots or clutched by screaming fans trying to balance their attention between getting a good shot and hanging on to posters, toys and everything else they hoped to get signed.
The only thing missing was a marching band...and then that showed up too.
But the pre-game hype exploded into an uncontrollable roar as Dan Harkins announced that it was time for the cast to arrive.
"What's that rumbling? Do you hear it?" he asked the crowd. Moments later Hugh Jackman appeared on a bad-ass chopper; driving straight to the main stage to shout hello at Tempe, Arizona.
"It's been about eight years I've waited for this moment, and our world premiere is here in Tempe, Arizona," it was hard to hear Jackman over the crowd. "You guys voted the most. You won it and I'm so proud to be here with the cast."
What followed was a ceaseless combination of screams and cheers as Liev Schreiber, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, will.i.am and Ryan Reynolds joined Jackman on stage. Then Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman got into the act declaring April 27, 2009 X-Men Day in Tempe Arizona and presenting Jackman with a "Wolverine parking only" sign for use anywhere in Tempe.
Almost two hours later, the cast was still signing autographs and meeting fans even as the crowd had begun to head for the theater to see the film. Yes, we at Up on the Sun got a chance to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine last night, but if you want the scoop on the movie itself, you're going to have to wait for Music Editor Martin Cizmar's review hitting phoenixnewtimes.com late tomorrow night and news stands across the Valley on Thursday. Hang in there, bub.