NEW YORK — Fox brass is surely hoping that the “Fantastic Four” preem on Liberty Island on Wednesday night was no harbinger of future success.
First premiere held out by Lady Liberty went from bad to worse with weather and technical difficulties wreaking havoc on the schedule before screening was cancelled altogether.
Guests were skedded to arrive on the island by 7 p.m. and film’s cast by 7:30, with screening to begin at 9. Shortly after 6:30, just as a ferry dropped off at least 150 members of the New York press, a torrential downpour put plans on hold, stranding guests on the mainland and the press and publicists under a wooden, sideless roof on the island.
Fox toppers and cast, including Tom Rothman, Hutch Parker and Ioan Gruffudd, holed up in the Ritz Carlton hospitality suite and debated moving preem to Regal Cinemas Battery Park, before electing to go ahead with Liberty Island, where a barbecue, outdoor stage and fireworks show were already set up.
“We were wondering what the heck we were going to do and then the head of Fox got up and said, ‘I believe the storm is going to end.’ And I guess he’s the head of Fox because he’s psychic and it stopped raining,” said film’s Kerry Washington.
Cast didn’t show until almost 9, and by then workers had successfully toweled down all the seats and repainted the splotchy screen, which had sent a torrent of white paint into the gutter during the storm. Rangers, ferry workers and SWAT team members, all working overtime, looked on as the reasonably good-natured guests waited for another hour while film’s actors and producers ran through the press line.
Screening finally got under way around 10:20, after a fireworks show, only to have the projector break down 10 minutes later. Antsy crowd rushed to fill the two boats heading back to shore. Film’s thesps, such as Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis, had to hitch a ride back on the same ferry, though they were cordoned off from the hoi polloi on ship’s prow.
After reaching shore at 11, any guest still willing could hop into one of Fox’s limos for a latenight screening at Battery Park.
Fox execs could not be reached for comment.