By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 25, 2010 at 9:49AM
From Monday morning, the Twilight fans camped out in a tent city set up in L.A.'s huge Nokia plaza. I walked past them when I went to a Monday night LAFF screening. Their pay-off was the Eclipse premiere Thursday night, the most fan-friendly event that I have ever seen.
Summit Entertainment erected long aisles of barriers so that the (mostly female) fans could get access to the Twilight stars, who spent a good hour making fans happy, walking the black carpet, posing for photos, hugging and signing autographs. They'd do a press interview on one side, then greet the fans on the other. Everyone and their mother covered this event, even the staid Wall Street Journal.
Rob Pattinson, in a maroon Gucci skinny suit and close-cropped haircut, girlfriend Kristen Stewart, in a stunning sparkling white backless Elie Saab mini-dress, and Taylor Lautner, in a formal black suit, were always flanked by security guards. Volturi Dakota Fanning told one black carpet interviewer: "Putting the red contacts in does your work for you."
While the 3,000 fans were delirious--and some joined the 5,000 guests thronging the gigantic Nokia Theater--the event itself was too big: too many fans, too many press, too many Nokia seats, too many phones to retrieve in long lines, and too many VIP sections at the after-party, where it was tough to find anyone. Lots of fathers brought their daughters, including Kevin Smith, wearing a long basketball jersey. Sometimes less is more. Inside the cavernous house, it was hard to even identify the stars when they arrived at the front of the theater.
The high point was watching Eclipse with the excited crowd, which screamed each time of the leads first appeared. Screams accompanied several extended romantic scenes, including passionate kisses between Stewart and each of her rival swains, and Lautner's repeated shirtless appearances. Washboard abs indeed. This one, written by the same writer, Melissa Rosenberg, as the other two, is well-directed by David Slade. It plays much better than New Moon; the balance between action and romance, Edward and Jacob works. Fans ate it up. It will be huge, bigger than the last, which grossed $700 million worldwide.
[Photo by Getty]