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‘Pixels’ Director on Utilizing Adam Sandler’s Strengths, Sony Hack

Saturday’sPixels” black carpet premiere outside of Times Square’s Regal E-Walk Theater proved to be a crowded, noisy, hot and humid experience.

Festivities got off to a late, hazy start when a fan, boxed off at the end of the carpet with fellow Adam Sandler admirers, begged a police officer to let her out of captivity. “I’m going to faint!” she screamed. That was followed by a Pac-Man arcade game machine being hauled onto, and then promptly off of the carpet by a worker who came alarmingly close to taking out gaggles of pedestrians. A home for the machine was finally found in the only shaded corner of the carpet.

“It is hot as all get out,” pic’s co-star Michelle Monaghan confessed before finally reaching the air-conditioned theater.

In the film, Sandler plays a former arcade gaming champ tasked with saving Earth from an invasion of aliens portrayed as giant versions of classic videogame characters, such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.

The film also stars Kevin James as the president of the United States along with Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage.

After a publicist dabbed away his brow sweat, director Chris Columbus explained that he “wanted to utilize (Sandler) as an actor. He’s got an arc. So I surrounded him with great actors. People like Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage and Michelle (Monaghan). I thought, let’s not cast Kevin James in (an expected role). Let’s (cast him) as the Chris Christie version of the president. That’s where I had fun with it. It was always about the comedy emitting from the characters.”

Columbus also admitted to being “a little worried” about Sony hackers getting their hands on “Pixels” late last year. “But, luckily, I don’t think we were in the system at that point.”

“We have it on very good authority that Pac-Man was not responsible for the hack,” Sony chief Tom Rothman joked. The new chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group also explained that while the film was originally scheduled to be released two months ago, July proved a better fit.

“In May kids are still in school,” he said. “July is peak family viewing time.”

As for getting the rights to use ’80s properties, including Pac-Man and Frogger in the comedy, pic’s producer Michael Barnathan explained that it was a process.

“It started about four years ago,” Barnathan said. “(The companies) were very protective of their properties, which they should be. It was still (an ongoing discussion) up until two months before we started shooting.”

(Pictured: Ashley Benson, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan, Adam Sandler and Kevin James at the premiere of “Pixels”)

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