HOLLYWOOD — At the 1930 Chinese Theater preem of Howard Hughes’ “Hell’s Angels,” a squadron of WWI biplanes parachuted flares over Hollywood Blvd. and the National Guard and Marines helped police keep 50,000 fans at bay.
Variety estimated the preem cost $14,000 and quoted an elderly man as remarking: “To me, it looks like a publicity stunt.”
Though hardly chopped liver, last week’s same location launch of Martin Scorsese‘s “The Aviator” (which re-creates the 1930 preem) was modest by comparison.
“Hughes invented the big, epic-size movie premiere,” said producer Graham King. “It’s a hard act to follow.”
And while the “Hell’s Angels” launch was all about Hughes releasing the most expensive film of its time, the chatter at “The Aviator” was about how Marty got his groove back.
“I really got into idea of the entertainment,” Scorsese said. “The idea of making a film that’s really entertaining with some substance that goes deeper and yet has the spectacle of Hollywood in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s.”
Also in the air: a palpable sense of uncertainty about Miramax’s future. Though the studio split domestic rights with Warners, Miramax was clearly running the event.
“I wish I knew,” Harvey Weinstein said about his future with the Mouse House. “Everyone is being nicer,” he said. “At Disney, everyone is nicer.”
Among those making nice at the after-party were Miramax’s Meryl Poster and Jere Hausfater; Warner’s Kevin McCormick and Dan Lin; producers Michael Mann and Charles Evans Jr.; plus guests including Paul Allen, Ron Burkle, Amy Heckerling, Ed Zwick, Scott Berg, Michael Moore, Michael Nathanson and Mark Gill.