‘Wolverine’ rolls into Tempe

More than 3,000 fans turn out for city’s first big film premiere

04-28-09 Wolverine
Hugh Jackman makes a grand entrance in a motorcycle, speeding through the countless cheers of the crowd. (Nikolai DeVera | The State Press)
Published On:
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
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Mayor Hugh Hallman officially declared Monday “X-Men Day” in Tempe in honor of the city’s first blockbuster world premiere.

More than 3,000 fans showed up at Harkins Cine Capri at Tempe Marketplace for the red-carpet event preceding the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” premiere.

The theater complex showcased the film on all 16 screens, holding a total of 3,000 movie watchers, said Dan Harkins, the theater company’s CEO and owner.

Local residents crammed together in the northeast Tempe Marketplace parking lot in hopes of catching a glimpse of the movie’s stars.

Local radio DJs Johnjay Ven Es and Rich Berra hosted the red-carpet festivities, which included ticket giveaways to the showing.

Hallman said he wasn’t surprised by the turnout for the premiere.

“Tempe was built for this sort of event,” he said. “I know we will be hosting more premieres down the road.”

Local celebrities Matt Leinart, Alice Cooper and American Idol star Scott MacIntyre were among the attendees.

ASU cheerleaders and the McClintock High School band performed for the introduction of the Harkins owner.

Harkins thanked the crowd for their support and for bringing Arizona its first blockbuster film premiere.

This month, Tempe finished with the highest number of online votes and won the 20th Century Fox promotional contest to host the film’s premiere.

Harkins also got the crowd pumped up as he introduced the stars of the film: Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber, Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Will.i.am.

Jackman arrived in true Wolverine fashion, on a motorcycle.

After shaking the hands of his fans, Jackman thanked the crowd for the turnout.

“This is my first time out to Arizona, and I know it won’t be my last,” he said.

After speaking to the crowd from a podium, the film’s stars signed autographs and talked with reporters.

In her first big blockbuster role, Collins said she didn’t need to do much to prepare for the physicality her role demanded.

“I’m pretty active in my day-to-day life, but I did need to watch what I ate more often,” she said.

Schreiber, who plays Wolverine’s main nemesis Sabretooth, said his character required a lot more preparation to portray him.

“I had a strict diet that I needed to maintain for six months, and I had to hit the gym hard,” Schreiber said.

In his first live-action movie, rapper and lifetime X-Men fan Will.i.am said he was adamant about appearing in the film.

“I was such a huge fan of the comic book and films,” he said. “When I was approached to be in the movie, I accepted on the spot. I didn’t care who I was playing, as long as I got to be a part of it.”

Another actor who was enthusiastic about appearing in the action film was Reynolds, who said he had lobbied for the role of Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, for years.

“This has actually been a dream come true for me,” Reynolds said. “Chances like this come along once in a lifetime, and I’m glad it finally happened.”

After posing for pictures and answering last-minute questions, the actors watched the premiere of the film with fans.

Reach the reporter at garrett.may@asu.edu.