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There Is Definitely a Spooky Aura Around Movie Premiere Parties

October 25, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Once upon a time, there were three beautiful girls . . .

Sunday's premiere of "Charlie's Angels" was such a hot ticket that two simultaneous screenings had to be held. The red-carpeted one at Mann's Chinese Theatre went off without a hitch, but an auxiliary showing at the nearby Galaxy Theater didn't. As if it weren't bad enough to be among the not-so-famous at the second-string screening, guests were dismayed when the film came to a screeching halt five times, interrupting key cleavage and butt shots, prompting several to bolt before the end. (A spokesperson for the film said Tuesday that the glitches were caused by a faulty circuit breaker.)

The after-party at the Hollywood Athletic Club was hot, too--but unpleasantly so, with windows steaming up because of poor ventilation in the front room, where Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz held court. The Sunset Boulevard club was renamed the Townsend Detective Agency for the night, but Bosley's speaker phone (displayed on a table just inside the door) was where the gumshoe motif ended. The other rooms were themed around scenes from the movie. But neither soul (music and food), kimono-clad waitresses passing out individual bottles of sake with straws, nor a jiggling belly dancer could keep the crowd of about 2,500 from swarming around the stars, who were seated at reserved, but not roped-off, tables.

The few reporters who were invited to cover the party were asked by event organizers not to speak to stars. (Apparently, premiere parties have ceased being about publicizing movies. . . .) Liu's publicist said the studio adopted the policy so celebs "could enjoy themselves." But as the throngs sardined the actresses' tables, and the room heated up, no one seemed to be having much fun.

Still, the "Angels" kept their cool. Barrymore, who wore a rhinestone flower in her hair, and fiance Tom Green, joined wide-eyed preteens on the dance floor. "I don't know her," said a bubbly 11-year-old girl. "I just know she's Drew Barrymore!"

Diaz proved she can look sexy even in a paper bag, which is what her thigh-skimming black T-shirt dress resembled. Even Liu managed to be gracious, as sweaty autograph seekers jockeyed for her attention. . . . Meanwhile, wilting guests grabbed their goodie bags (T-shirts, hats, Altoids) and split.

*

On Monday, Mann's Chinese hosted the premiere of "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2." Everyone's been complaining about the sequel not being able to live up to the astonishing success of its predecessor, but I actually liked it better because it hilariously spoofs the "Blair Witch" cult phenom. A few late-arriving guests and reporters were shut out of the screening by fire marshals, but that didn't dampen spirits at the Goth after-party at the Palace. Uplit branches created a spooky scene, as a holographic light in the shape of the signature stick figure from "The Blair Witch Project" bounced around the dance floor.

For his last theatrical release, director Joe Berlinger said, "The premiere consisted of six of us at an Indian restaurant, so this is a nice change of pace." Berlinger, a documentarian, was not associated with the original "Blair Witch" and has just one independent film ("Brother's Keeper") and two HBO specials to his credit.

A commentary on fan hysteria, "Book of Shadows" follows a tour group of "Blair Witch" film fanatics into the woods, where things turn grisly--again. "Joe thinks evil in this world is not this abstract force, it's something within all of us," said one of the film's actresses, Tristen Skyler.

Yes, and sometimes it manifests itself in infernal premiere parties. . . .

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