Basically, four times and counting, every time Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney chief Bob Iger come out with a new Pirates movie, they blow up a gigantic screen on Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disneyland and invite everyone they know to snuggle up with blankets, eat some pirate themed food, walk down the pirate black carpet on Main Street and watch the film outdoors with all of Hollywood.
This sequel (number #4) was no exception. A massive pirate-black carpet is set up on Main Street to get guests in the mood and all of Main Street is decorated in pirate theme. Park staff hand out Pirate Mickey ears to park-goers who are able to watch the carpet arrivals from behind, and in between, the press and media. Disney sets up the press (in order of importance) down Main Street all the way to the “It’s a Small World” castle, making it the longest red carpet in the world. After the carpet wraps around flower beds and store fronts, it lets you out at Frontierland where you are handed blankets, pirate-themed food and are guided to bleacher seating for an outdoor premiere with the cast and crew; fireworks included.
There are strict rules about the carpet because every news agency has 300 people they need to bring, therefore carpet space is a hot commodity.
The most important rule is from Johnny Depp’s camp: Stay off the carpet!
If you have ever been around Johnny Depp in person – this makes complete sense. For some reason, people get really crazy around him – especially girls. At the Pirates 3 premiere I saw a couple fans who literally jumped over the rails when Johnny Depp sort of acquiesced to hug one girl. She also cried. A lot. Johnny Depp had to like pry her off him and was trying to be nice about it and obviously felt terrible about the whole thing. So, I think I agree it’s probably better to skip the trusting 3000 people (even the media, particularly the young female interns) to not rush him and just keep it under control.
Our friends over at E! News gave us a break-down of how their set-up works and they are the best media outlet to explain this because they have an intimate relationship with the Pirates franchise. The E! News team Platform #1:
E! host (Guliana, Catt Sadler or whoever), her make-up person and hair person
E! Talent executives who coordinate interviews with publicists and celebs
E! executive producers
Camera men and cameras
Engineers who build the platform stay to make sure it doesn’t wiggle or break
2nd string host midway down the carpet in case someone is missed:
Ben Lyons (or whoever)
More E! producers
E! historically does a 30 minute ‘LIVE from the Red Carpet Special’ for all the Pirates premieres which was originally set up by friend of the Truffle Katrina Wan, a former producer at E! News who had been a publicist at Disney prior to that and had worked on Pirates 1 premiere with them. *(Katrina is semi-famous in L.A. and in the film publicity circuit). Katrina proposed the idea of 30 minute special to then E! News head Bob Lifton and produced a 30 minute special for both Pirates 2 and Pirates 3. Along with that came the the #3 spot on the Black Carpet press line (before Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood). Katrina also acted as the talent executive who’s soul purpose is to know and bring celebrities to come talk to E! News. In this case interviews had been arranged way in advance because of the special. Multiple E! cameras were also set-up throughout the park and a news truck with a massive edit bay to stream in all the feeds was parked in the Disney parking lot.
In 2007, E! also did a ‘first look’ at the new Pirates ride on Tom Sawyer’s Island (build to compliments the films) with Pirates cast members Mackenzie Crook (aka Ragetti, the guy whose eye kept popping out) and Lee Arenberg (aka Pintel) who gave E! News a private tour.
This year, the Pirates 4 premiere brought out all the leads … Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Ruh, Keith Richards, Penelope Cruz (with husband Javier Bardem), all the mermaids including lead mermaid Astrid Berges-Frisbey and her sea-sisters Gemma Ward, Daphne Joy, Antoinette Nikprelaj, Toni Busker, Sanya-Hughes, Jorgelina Airaldi, Breanne and Beth Berrett.