A strange incident occurred on Hollywood Blvd. in tinseltown on Monday night. No, it didn’t involve a homeless person, a six-foot drag queen and the LAPD (that’s hardly rare). Instead, the world premiere of “Iron Man 2” took place at the El Capitan Theater, a debut that was supposed to occur in London before a certain Icelandic crater decided to erupt and spew ash all over Northern Europe disrupting travel and well choreographed publicity plans for days. And yet, even if you took that historical anomaly out of the equation you’d still have witnessed quite a sight on the “Iron Man 2” red carpet. But first, some background.
The highly-anticipated “Iron Man 2” was already in production when the Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Studios last year. Marvel had signed a contract with Paramount Pictures to distribute their films for a fee and a small percentage of the gross and “Iron Man” was the first picture under that deal. Disney could not legally get out of that agreement nor did Paramount want to lose the guaranteed distribution income. Now, studios have teamed up on producing and distributing films for decades, but this is a much more bizarre situation. Disney owns 100% of “Iron Man 2” and could easily release it themselves but are forced to use a competitor – Paramount – because of a pre-existing agreement. Paramount now has to now report to their competitor – Disney – to get their approvals on all aspects of marketing and distribution after they were partly responsible for the first “Iron Man” become a surprise $585 million worldwide blockbuster. That’s akin to being a successful pastry chef and asking someone who isn’t good at desserts for their approval at every step. Wouldn’t you love to sit on those board meetings?
So, while the premiere took place at the Disney-owned El Capitan, Paramount and Disney publicists worked together to corral noted dignitaries from both companies including Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone (talk about some chutzpah to actually show up) and newly appointed Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross. Luckily there was no after-party to have to exchange political pleasantries.
As for the guests, whether they understood the uniqueness of the situation was unclear, but a laundry list of non-“Iron Man” celebrities turned out including Jeremy Renner, Kevin James, Sylvester Stallone, Adrien Brody, Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Hefner. Fans screaming for star Robert Downey, Jr. may have been disappointed Mickey and Minnie Mouse weren’t in attendance too, but promotional partner The Burger King was decked out in an Iron Man costume for kicks or some corporate tie in this mention will justify.
The real excitement of the evening, however, occurred before the premiere began when the press were directed to a large stage in front of the theater marquee. What happened next was a presentation of pizazz, taught abs, uncomfortable stars and fireworks celebrated the debut of what should be the biggest film of the summer.
You can watch the short show featuring the entire cast of “Iron Man 2” and director Jon Favreau embedded in this page or for a larger version, click here.
If you are having any problems with the Brightcove player, watch the video on YouTube.
To check out photos of the entire cast from the red carpet, click here.
“Iron Man 2” opens nationwide and in IMAX on May 7.