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So You’re Going to a Movie Premiere WITHOUT a Ticket

The Top 7 Things You Need to Know to Make Your Experience Magical

Do you want to watch your favorite celebrities walk the red carpet? Here are 7 tips that will help you have a magical time.

1. Find out when and where a premiere will be held.

Many big movies premiere in multiple cities all over the world, including New York City, Los Angeles, and London. Premieres are generally held a few days before the movie is released in theaters.

To find out when and where a movie will be premiering, try Googling the name of the movie and "world premiere." For example, "Hunger Games Mockingjay" "world premiere." Another good source for premiere dates is

2. Bring ... 

a friend, water, snacks, comfortable/warm layers of clothes (it gets cold when the sun goes down, even in sunny Los Angeles), comfortable shoes, a camera with a good zoom lens, an extra battery and memory card for your camera, binoculars, a hidden wallet (to keep valuables safe while you are distracted), and patience.

3. Arrive early.

For most movie premieres, if you arrive 2-3 hours early you will find plenty of space to stand along the barricades. For highly-anticipated movies, like the Hunger Games movies, fans started lining up days before the event. If this is allowed, there is generally information available online a few days before the event about when and where fans are allowed to set up camp.

4. Figure out the best place to watch the action.

When they arrive, celebrities will step out of their vehicle in the unloading area. They might stop to greet nearby fans. Then they will be hustled to the photography area and pose for photos. If there are fans located opposite the photographers, they might greet fans here. Then they will do interviews with the journalists lining the remaining portion of the carpet. If there are fans located opposite the journalists, they might greet fans here. Then they will socialize with their friends and colleagues outside the theater or head inside the theater.

You will be invited to watch the action from outside the barricades. There is no way of knowing for sure where the best spot to stand will be, because it varies based on many different factors. To increase your chances of a good view:

A. Ask a security person for suggestions on the best place to see the celebrities. Security people (they are usually wearing suits) are generally stationed just inside the barricades. Some of them may be more helpful and knowledgeable than others so you might want to ask more than one person.

B. Find the closest barricade to the red carpet. Note that this will probably put you close to the celebrities and all the action, but you might find yourself looking mostly at the celebrities' backsides.

View from the barricades along the black carpet at the Divergent premiere in Westwood, facing the photographers
C. Consider a higher vantage point. You will be a bit further from the action, but you might get a better view. Look up and see if you can find a public area, like a mall, located above the carpet.   

Fans check out a birds-eye view of the Finding Dory blue carpet (left) and the Frozen white carpet from the mall across the street from the El Capitan Theatre
Warning: About 2-3 hours before the premiere, photographers and journalists will start to arrive. There will be an area set up along the carpet for these individuals to stand. If they are standing between you and the red carpet, your view of the celebrities will be partially or completely blocked. Ask the security people where the press people will be standing to prevent this from happening to you.

5. Be patient.

Celebrities generally start to arrive about 2 hours before the premiere is scheduled to begin. Often the actors who are actually in the movie and the big name celebrities arrive last, about an hour before the premiere.

6. Have your camera ready at all times.

You might only get a split second to take a photo of your favorite star. Be sure that your camera is fully charged and ready at every moment. 

Fan's-eye view of Brad Pitt (left) and Angelina Jolie (right) at the premiere of By the Sea.
(photo credit: Lisa Nasco) 
7. Have fun!

Enjoy the experience! Bond with your fellow fans. Imagine yourself walking the carpet. Someday, you could be the one posing for pictures as fans and photographers shout out your name!

Jen (California, USA)

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