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EVENT REPORT

New Moon Premiere Beckons 10,000 People and 2 Live Wolves

The premiere for The Twilight Saga: New Moon in Westwood

Photo: Line 8 Photography

Westwood, being a college town, is accustomed to groups of young people roaming about—but Monday night was no ordinary night in the village. The young people were out, for sure, but many weren't yet old enough to drive, and they were pressed behind barricades on closed streets for the premiere of Summit Entertainment's new installment of the Twilight series, New Moon.

Summit's Eric Kops oversaw the hotly anticipated event, tapping ELS for big-time tasks like crowd control and security, and Chad Hudson Events for roles including theater management and R.S.V.P.s, plus production of the after-party at the Hammer Museum.

The will-call table on Broxton Avenue southwest of Weyburn opened at 4 p.m. and arrivals began at 5 p.m. for the premiere, which drew an estimated 10,000 additional people to the diminutive—and notoriously parking-anemic—Westwood Village, hoping for a glimpse of Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart. (A U.C.L.A. basketball game also tipped off at Pauley Pavilion the same evening, drawing an additional crowd of more than 6,000 to the area.) Guests picked up their tickets for screenings at three theaters—the Village, Bruin, and Landmark's Regent, all on Broxton—where a live feed showed the arrivals outside. As an anti-piracy measure, about 2,500 screening guests checked all cell phones and recording devices at the doors to the theaters, while the hordes of mostly pre-teen, mostly female fans screamed into the tinted windows of arriving cars.

“A big advantage of planning logistics for the New Moon premiere was being involved in last year’s Twilight premiere,“ said ELS senior production manager Mary Pat Kasravi. “After Twilight, we knew we were dealing with a very enthusiastic group of fans—and that this year the crowds would be bigger and more excited than ever. A big part of planning for this premiere was being proactive by having a series of logistics meetings with city officials including L.A.P.D., L.A.F.D., the events team at Chad Hudson Events and Summit Entertainment, and the security experts at SEM. We made sure that we had enough fences and safety personnel on site to manage the crowds.”

Hudson said the production committee also met with the department of transportation, Film L.A., and the local merchants. About 200 production staffers were on site, plus city service folks like E.M.T.s and police.

Following the screenings, about 1,600 guests traveled mostly on foot across Westwood Village to the Hammer for the party, where a tent on Lindbrook allowed that number of guests, 400 more than Twilight's first party in the same space. “It was the first time that street was closed with a tent there. The Hammer has never done that in their history, and it was one of the biggest logistical issues for us,” said Hudson, who further explained that the permit necessitated a tight load-out by 6 a.m. the next morning. To keep the robust crowd flowing throughout the party space, Hudson's team set up attractions throughout the Hammer's two levels, lobby, and the tented area. A photo booth and display of movie costumes kept guests' interest in the lobby, and word of two penned live wolves from Animal Actors—that invoked the werewolves in the film—drove guests out back to the clear-top tent to have a look.

The party had an overall Italian theme—evocative of the setting for some of the movie's climactic moments—with an Italian menu and gelato carts arranged by Wolfgang Puck, giant urns filled with dramatic red roses, ornate gilded furnishings, and servers clad in red hooded capes. An Airstar decor piece meant to resemble the moon hung overhead, and upholstered bench seating surrounded a working fountain constructed by Angel City Designs in the courtyard.

“A lot of the guests were the same [from the first movie],” said Hudson. ”So we had to make the look and feel completely different.”