Monday, June 27, 2005

Drop That Cellphone, You Celebrity. It's a Film Premiere. - New York Times

The publicity blunders leading up to the release of Paramount Studios' "War of the Worlds" turned into a pratfall on Thursday, when heavy security at the movie's New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater meant that guests had to stand in long lines to reclaim their cellphones and handbags. Even Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin and Steven Spielberg were required to check their phones, a Paramount source said.

Paramount had security guards confiscate all cellphones and handbags before the start of the movie, something the company warned about in all tickets and invitations to the screenings. (Studios have taken cellphones before but handbags seemed a new twist here.) The concern wasn't that Mr. Spielberg would be talking loudly to his agent during the quiet parts, but that people might try to capture scenes using cellphone cameras.

"We're committed to doing everything we can to protect our films against piracy," said a spokeswoman for the studio.

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