Utilizing Disney's vast resources, the world premiere party for the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean was a giant-scale spectacle that doubled as a $3 million fund-raiser.
As with the premieres for the past two Pirates movies, Breier worked with a massive team from the studio and the theme park to bring together the meticulously scripted event, which began with guests, costumed entertainers, and celebrities all making their way down a snaking red carpet into the park. Instructions on their laminated tickets directed guests to specific restaurants for dinner (assignments were based on color-coded theater seating—a smart way to control crowds and maintain order). Each restaurant featured musical entertainment, as well as surprisingly elegant buffet spreads. More typical amusement-park fare like churros and cotton candy were also available at carts around the park.
As the sky grew dark, staffers closed the rides and activities (including stations where people could collect photos of themselves with stars by way of green-screen technology) to encourage guests into their seats at an outdoor theater, where a fleece blanket hung on the back of each chair for warmth against the nighttime chill. Norm Roper and his 12-piece Splash band, along with six dancers—all costumed in outfits from the movie—performed retro dance standards before the composer Hans Zimmer took the stage for a short performance from the score and actors paraded across the stage to thunderous applause from the crowd.
After the two-hour-45-minute film, the screening ended amid a symphony of well-timed fireworks, to music also specially composed by Zimmer. Guests were free to ride the attractions—including Pirates of the Caribbean, of course—until the park closed at 1 a.m.
“We were very lucky [to be working with] the most anticipated movie of the entire year,” Breier said. “What could be better than premiering the movie at the place it all started—Disneyland?”
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