Movie premieres happen all the time in LA. What makes them stand out from the crowd? Not much, except for the stars that show up to support each film. But there’s a new movie out called Living in the Age of Airplanes that went down a different path. The premiere for this movie was in an Emirates A380 flying over the Pacific. Pretty slick? Yes, but what I found most interesting was how Emirates went about putting this together. The attention to detail was remarkable.
[Full disclosure: Emirates offered me to attend the premiere, but I had one of our concierges at Cranky Concierge, Derek Pugh, go on my behalf. Follow him on Twitter @MDerekPugh.]
First, we should talk about this film. Though I wasn’t on the airplane, I actually saw a sneak peek myself way back in October when the movie was still called Aviation: The Invisible Highway. Since then, it was picked up by National Geographic and the name changed, but the visually-awesome content is still there. Here’s the trailer.
This movie was put together by Brian Terwilliger who aviation lovers around the world know as the man behind One Six Right. This 47 minute film follows the progress of human transportation with longtime aviator Harrison Ford narrating. Anyone who loves airplanes will love this movie. The only problem? It’s an IMAX movie and the release is limited, to say the least. There’s only one theater in California, for example. But I had the chance to talk to Brian a lot last October and he explained to me how IMAX movies are funny because they come in and play for long periods of time. So when other movies are done showing, it’s likely we’ll see this movie go into more IMAX theaters at museums or other non-traditional movie venues. If it’s near you now, go see it. The airplane porn alone is well worth it.
But let’s get back to that premiere, because I found it fascinating. Though I wasn’t there, Derek took more than 250 photos and noted the incredible attention to detail. While I have no doubt a silly amount of money was spent here (much of which I can only assume had to come from the deep pockets of Emirates), it’s not every company that can put something together like this. The experience started as early as the entrance to the Bradley Terminal at LAX.
You can see a custom-designed logo was put in the airline logo directory telling people which aisle to use for check-in.
The flight was on the departure board, though its destination was unknown. (Marietta would be proud.)
Attendees were taken up to the Emirates lounge where they were greeted with champagne, a hot buffet, and of course some caviar.
That was followed by a big event where the director spoke about the film… flanked by attractive flight attendants, of course.
Down at the gate, the movie imagery continued into the boarding process. Emirates decided to delay its flight from LA to Dubai that day by a few hours so that it could use it for this special flight. (Yes, it was delayed in advance, but still, they did fly a whole crew in just to work this flight.)
The theme didn’t stop once on the airplane. The inflight entertainment system had been customized to welcome people onboard the premiere flight.
Everyone was given a box of Emirates-branded popcorn and Voss water to have with the film.
The shades were all drawn as the aircraft did wide circles over the Pacific. Everyone watched the movie at their seats. Afterwards, they let people tour the aircraft. A First Class suite was made up in the bed position so people could get a sense for what the product was like. Another was set up with a full meal service on display. It effectively became a big Emirates commercial.
Kudos to Emirates for putting together a great event for a very worthy film, but really, the airline didn’t go far enough. Maybe next time, Etihad will try to get in the game by chartering an individual aircraft for each attendee….