'Tis the season for blowout blockbuster movie openings, and if one could classify publicity blitzes like weather patterns, yesterday's Spider-Man 3 premiere in Astoria might be considered a perfect storm. The UA Kaufman Astoria Stadium 14 — a giant cube of windowless concrete surrounded on all sides by auto-repair shops and other cubes of windowless concrete — usually has a discomforting postindustrial quiet, despite the few coffee shops that have popped up over the years. But yesterday, the combination of the Tribeca Film Festival, a movie that will likely break all-time box-office records, and a neglected borough that is not only the fictional home of Peter Parker but also an area starving for a taste of glitz created a tidal wave of people, limos, celebrities, and confetti that made 38th Street virtually unrecognizable.
The black carpet (Spidey's black-suited, get it?) was 200 feet long. Though we couldn't see the stars arrive, we needed only follow the deafening screams of teenage girls to know that they were there. Tobey Maguire's arrival was greeted with the heraldry of two marching bands playing the Spider-Man theme song, followed by a burst of black and red confetti. He then marched down the line of fans, shaking hands with both hands, as though he were running for office. This, apparently, was not enough face time for some. "Tobey, come closer!" screamed one girl. "I'll show you my underwear. I didn't wash them yet."
Maguire, of course, is used to this attention. He marched on, unfazed. Topher Grace, who plays Venom in the movie, though, seemed unable to take it all in. At the after-party, held in a lovely room at Kaufman Astoria Studios, he frequently walked along the backs of couches to get away from his many well-wishers. And on the black carpet, he was so dazed he could barely answer questions.
"Stop yelling! It's distracting!" he yelled back to fans screaming out his name. "Sorry," he said, turning back, "I'm not used to this. This is by far the biggest film I've ever been in, and this reception is biggest premiere I've ever been to, so I'm just a little bit overwhelmed." Is he a fan of comic books? "Oh, yeah … please stop yelling my name! Sorry. Sorry." What
superpower did he wish he had? "Invisibility, right now." — Jada Yuan