By Alesandra Dubin Posted March 15, 2012, 11:36 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES Recalling shades of huge-scale, fan-mobbed Twilight premieres, Lionsgate opened The Hunger Games on Monday at L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre with big buzz and a throng of fans eager to lend their enthusiasm to build excitement around the picture. Lionsgate tapped Chris Benarroch to produce the event, with Benarroch's team handling outreach to more than 4,000 guests by way of an animated online invitation.
Benarroch worked with Craig Waldman's team at 15/40 Productions to handle the massive red-carpet-arrivals portion in Nokia Plaza. About 500 fans arrived on Sunday morning ahead of the event to camp overnight and secure tickets to the premiere, a spot on the red carpet, and an opportunity to view the entrances and meet the cast.
The grand arrivals carpet was an enormous, horseshoe-shaped arrangement for 80 crews and 250 photographers, along with eight platforms for on-air broadcasts. The giant plaza screen ran footage of the arrivals that also streamed onto the screen installed in the theater, where 4,000 screaming guests could watch the action as they anticipated the film's start.
Benarroch worked with Greco Decor to design the premiere party, which had a look Benarroch described as a “virtual forest” with dramatic gold columns that created a long runway to evoke the film's climatic scene. A 100-foot oak tree decor piece served as a centerpiece at the party, where guests dined on buffets created from custom oak planks that were suspended from the ceiling.
Toni Thompson and Dina Michelle handled the celebrity wrangling for the star-studded event, which drew the likes of Kate Beckinsale, David and Victoria Beckham, Sylvester Stallone, Rita Wilson, and others.