'Charlie' bow takes a bite out of Blighty

LONDON — Blighty’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fans experienced a sugar-rush of excitement July 17 as Leicester Square was transformed into a confectionary theme park.

Josh Berger, of Warner Bros. Entertainment U.K., opened the evening on a somber note. Berger enunciated Warner’s official policies of “continuing to work in this city and to make movies in London and in the U.K.” As the local film industry is grappling with uncertainties about the status of tax provisions that led productions like “Charlie” to be based in the U.K., as well as the July 7 bombings, which reports indicate could have damaged the overall London economy by as much as £2 billion ($3.5 billion), both Berger’s words and the high entertainment quotient of the evening were welcome relief.

Post-preem party at London’s Old Billingsgate venue on the Thames was a cornucopia of candy floss, milkshake bars chocolate fountains and bouncy tents (one for kids, one for grown-ups; just the way the wily Mr. Wonka would have wanted it).

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