On the scene: Johnny Depp and crew at the 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' premiere

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Image Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage.com

Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. was transformed on Saturday for the world premiere of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

“They told me it was going to be a big deal, but I didn’t imagine this. This is a spectacle, and it’s surreal,” Ian McShane, who joins the franchise as the dread pirate Blackbeard, told EW exclusively. “I can’t even see the end of the carpet.”

The party started long before before McShane, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, and the rest of the cast stepped foot on the gigantic black carpet as costumed fans lined both sides of Main Street, many having stood there for hours in the hopes of meeting or landing an autograph from Capt. Jack Sparrow himself.  Hired pirates and wenches led the crowd in numerous rounds of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride’s theme song and entertained them with stilt-walking, juggling, balancing, and family-friendly smack talking.

The crowd wore their free pirate-themed Mickey ears and generally went bananas for every level of star who walked past including numerous ‘tween Disney Channel kids; rock royalty Keith Richards and Steven Tyler; Oscar winners Jodie Foster and Geoffrey Rush; and more than half the current cast of Dancing With the Stars. (Lacey Schwimmer and the head mouse got their ballroom on during arrivals and Bruno Tonioli was even there to offer criticisms.) “This must be how the Twilight actors feel at their premieres,” said Pirates costar Sam Claflin, who coincidentally is working with Kristen Stewart on a Snow White adaptation. “I’m the new guy and not only do they know my name, but they want to take a picture with me. I just hope I don’t disappoint them once they see the film.” (To see how some of the stars in attendance looked, click over to our Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides red carpet photo gallery)

Of course, no one got a louder, bigger reception than Depp–even when it was only an impersonator walking by. (There were several in attendance, but the one in his signature premiere look fooled even this reporter who has interviewed the actor many times and crushed on him since 21 Jump Street.) After doing less than a dozen interviews, the actual Depp, looking dapper in a vintage suit, gave his full attention to the fans.  “Who doesn’t love Johnny Depp?” asked Ashley Tisdale, who arrived with her High School Musical costar Vanessa Hudgens. “He’s so cool and mysterious and perfect as Captain Jack.”

The spectacle did not stop on Main Street. Two thousand guests–many of whom paid $1,000 a seat for the event, which benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of America–made their way to Adventureland and New Orleans Square to feast on sausage, mac-n-cheese, and churros. They could also try out the five rides that remained open, including the Pirates ride, which already has been updated for the four-quel. (Blackbeard now threatens fans instead of Bill Nighy’s tentacle-tastic Davy Jones.)

Around 8:15 p.m. lights began shutting down in order to corral people to their seats within the temporary outdoor amphitheater. (The screen itself, at 9 stories wide and 6 stories high, was quite impressive. It sat on an island in the middle of the Disneyland Rivers of America attraction.) Finally, almost an hour after it was supposed to begin, the lead cast, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and director Rob Marshall were introduced. The applause eventually died down and the movie was screened without a hitch. Fireworks exploded as credits rolled and guests were free to warm up with coffee or cool down with ice cream bars in the shape of Mickey’s head. (An odd dessert choice considering how unseasonably chilly it had gotten–many folks including celebs like Andy Garcia, Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, and Jennifer Grey were spotted wrapped in the blanket provided for the screening.) Each guest left with a limited-edition pair of XPAND universal 3-D glasses with the premiere logo.

“Nobody does a premiere quite like Disney,” said Joey Lawrence. “They go big. It is impossible to leave here unhappy.”

Comments (13 total) Add your comment
  • Jo

    Cool

  • Sean Dignam

    Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides looks like a vast improvement on the previous films. It is good how they have streamlined the film and reinvented the film series. The previous films were overlong, had too many leads, overloaded with multiple complex storylines and overstuffed with key characters.
    This film is centred on Captain Jack Sparrow only who is the sole protagonist in this film and the film follows him. There appears to be only one storyline which is simple and clear. The supporting cast of Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush are the only other key characters.

    • Fred

      Agreed Sean.

      • Lyzbeth

        So excited I found this article as it made thngis much quicker!

    • tom

      Anything would be an improvement over terrible.

  • Judy

    I missed it! But I will not miss the movie. Jack Sparrow shows Johnny Depp’s humor at its best.I’d love to see a movie a year! “Pirates” is a favorite and deserves to be.

  • dee

    Love ya’ Johnny…..Love the haircut also…..Can’t wait to see the movie…..

  • David

    I was at Disneyland and saw all the celebs. However, the change to the Pirates ride was temporary for the premeire. It has been changed back to Davy Jones. Disneyland cast members says the change will take place after the movie release on may 20th.

  • LainaLain

    Wow. Party crashers would do better crashing a Disney premiere.

  • Jane

    Yes, it is true that there was a dead-on Johnny Depp impersonator who caused a minor stir at one point on the RC, but he went by so fast that he was quickly dismissed as an imposter. I woudn’t have spent 10 hours waiting for the premiere, but it was definitely fun to go and watch the “Black Carpet” arrivals. My favorite was “Monkey Jack,” who at least got to walk the carpet. I imagine he then spent the screening in the Disneyland Kennel Club.

  • JB

    big ups to disney for making it a benefit for a great cause instead of selfishly keeping all the money for themselves. god knows they’ll make enough anyway

  • synthandria

    hey i love this wedsite

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