NEW YORK -- "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is one of the splashiest of the many action-adventures to debut this moviegoing season, so it's fitting that it had a premiere to match.
On Thursday night outside this city's landmark Ziegfeld Theater, fans with balloons, Spidey suits and other accouterments lined the street, where stars from the film including Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx all walked a red carpet. Inside the theater, director Marc Webb, looking surprisingly fresh given the globe-trotting tour that has taken him and the cast across Asia and Europe in the last few weeks, shouted out to the New York locations and brought the cast to the front of the theater.
First up was Foxx, who began with a little solo gyrating dance move (the Jamie?). Soon everyone else who came to the stage attempted their own spin on it, including Stone and Garfield, both of whom put some real oomph into their moves.
Though "Spider-Man" has long been set in New York, the film was the first of the five "Spidey" movies to shoot in the state, which Webb shouted out to with, "It's a great place to shoot a movie; I highly recommend it if you get the chance." He also called out, amid loud cheering, to the cast including Garfield, whom he called the "heartbeat" of the film.
But all for the raucousness, the screening was practically low-key compared with the afterparty, held at the city's gargantuan main post office near Madison Square Garden. The venue was chosen, it seemed, because Sony is mounting a promotion with the U.S. Postal Service (perhaps you've seen the truck ads?). Though there were some food trucks parked next to the mail ones outside, inside there were few reminders of the postal theme.
Instead, guests wandered the cavernous space (technically called Skylight at Moynihan Station) and its many food and themed drink stations (the film may be about Gwen Stacy but there was indeed, an Ultimate Mary Jane beverage). Dotted throughout the room were demos of a Spider-Man video game and photo booths built to look like the set (e.g. Peter Parker's bedroom).
In the middle sat a large stage that saw an all-star concert begin sometime around 11:30, as composer Hans Zimmer, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams — all featured on the soundtrack -- performed. Introducing them, Foxx took the stage with his daughter and insisted she was "Team Electro," a reference to the villain he plays in the film; he later quipped that Pharrell has been "making great music for 30 years — and he's only 15."
That Sony would pull out all the stops for the May 2 release is hardly a surprise. With two more "Amazing Spider-Man" movies tentatively planned and a hefty budget on this one, the studio needs as many ticket sales, here and around the world, that it can get. If success is measured in premiere glitz, it's already halfway home.