I've enjoyed some welcome perks over the years, thanks to my association with Orlando Weekly, but this weekend I got the best bonus ever. On the morning of Saturday April 14, I had the honor of representing OW as emcee of the Orlando IMAX 3-D premiere of Marvel's The Avengers. In case you've been living on Asgard, that's the massive movie mash-up starring comic-book icons Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Hawkeye, and Black Widow.
The film doesn't release to the public until May 4th, so this Facebook-organized screening at the Regal Waterford Lakes (one of 10 held simultaneously in cities across the country) was a pretty big deal. Better yet, though the celeb-stocked Hollywood red carpet premiere has been held a day and a half earlier, those rich and famous folks at L.A.'s El Capitan only saw the standard 3-D version, while we were among the first audiences to experience it in IMAX 3-D. (I'll leave the debate over whether that theater's marginally-larger retrofitted screen should really count as IMAX for another day.)
When I arrived at 8:15am, there was already a line several hundred fans long wrapped around the theater. The capacity crowd, some of whom had been standing in line since the night before, didn't seem dampened by the sporadic drizzle.
As host, I entertained the crowd as they entered -- a slow process, thanks to lengthy screening procedures preventing cellphones and cameras from entering -- with about 45 minute of trivia and costume contests. By the time the film started (about a half hour after our hoped-for 10am start time) the crowd was amped up enough to cheer the opening credits, and that electricity in the room extended until the final frame.
As for the film itself, published reviews are unfortunately embargoed until opening day. So, for the next few weeks all I can say is that I'm going to buy my opening weekend tickets (preferably for the true 3-D IMAX at Pointe Orlando) as soon as possible, because I can barely wait three weeks to see it again. Between Avengers and Cabin in the Woods (the best horror/comedy since Evil Dead 2, go see it twice!), the summer of 2012 officially belongs to Joss Whedon.
All photos credit Adam Jawer