If the Christmas movie season needed an explosive kickoff, it got one with Wednesday’s “Ocean’s Eleven” preem at the Village and Bruin theaters.
Crowding nearby streets, enthusiastic (some might say “Day of the Locust”-like) fans went wild as stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts trod the red carpet past 60 television crews. AOL Time Warner’s Steve Case said the scene reminded him “of a Hollywood-of-the-golden-era premiere.”
The preem also boasted the largest gathering of industry heavy-hitters in recent memory. Seat fillers included Harvey Weinstein, Kirk Kerkorian, Joe Roth, Terry Semel, Rob Friedman, Jeff Berg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who said attendance at “Ocean’s” meant “being at the coolest place in town.” Bryan Lourd said, “It’s like the prom — you have to have a date.”
Ticket demand was so high that producer Jerry Weintraub said he’d gotten 150 calls on Wednesday alone asking for tix. “I hid all day,” he said.
Post-screening, Weinstein praised the Vegas heist pic as “the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. It looks easy to make a film like that, but it ain’t. Brilliant.”
Roth said, “This guy (director Steven Soderbergh) has great style. A lesser director would have tried to explain everything, but he breezes right through it.”
At 10:45 p.m., Weintraub and most of his cast headed for LAX, where they flew to an unidentified U.S. military base in Turkey to screen the pic for troops. Thus the night had the kind of ending weary publicists dream of: You take all the talent, put them on a plane and send them to Turkey.
Among those at the Jeffrey Best-designed tented after-party were Warner’s Alan Horn, Barry Meyer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Dawn Taubin; Village Roadshow’s Bruce Berman; stars Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner and Bernie Mac; plus guests Armyan Bernstein, Mark Canton, Lawrence Bender, Joel Silver, Leonard Goldberg, Marvin and Barbara Davis, Ted Field, Lennox Lewis, Steve Wynn, Ethan Hawke, Cindy Crawford, Lucy Liu, Frank Mancuso, Michael Milken, the Rock, John Burnham, Kevin Misher and Bruce Cohen.