The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Red Carpet at the Dolby Theater
Hollywood turned out in style this week for the LA premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the grand finale in director Peter Jackson’s saga adapting the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The premier was held Tuesday at the Dolby Theatre, previously known as the Kodak Theatre and home to the annual Academy Awards. Among the highlights of the film screening was the sound system installed specially for the premiere. Dolby Atmos is — to put it in layman’s terms and in the best way I can think of to describe the experience — like 3D for your ears. I was there for the LA premiere and after-party, so let’s talk about some highlights and how the sound was such a definitive part of the experience…
There was the usual red carpet and massive media presence to be expected of such a high-profile premiere, complete with insanely large and adoring crowds. Hollywood Boulevard was shut down for blocks, and the crowds lined the sidewalks all around the theatre and down the street for hours before the premier got underway. When the stars made their appearances on the red carpet, you could hear the cheers all the way upstairs inside the Grill on the Alley, where some members of the press and a few producers waited and talked shop before heading into the screening.
As for the screening and the theater, let me skip ahead to the after-party for just a moment, and then I’ll circle back to talk to you in detail about what waited for us in the Dolby Theatre itself.
The after-party at the Ray Dolby Ballroom following the screening was a grand affair that felt like a sort of victory celebration not just for this film but for the entire trilogy. Peter Jackson and his Hobbit cast were in attendance, along with a who’s who of other media and cinema personalities. Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Tsujihara showed up. So did Disney Studios Chairman — and former Warner President and Chief Operating Officer, not to mention executive producer on the Hobbit films — Alan Horn.
Jackson spent most of the party sitting in a private area with his family and cast members, trying to relax while gamely smiling and shaking hands of those stopping by to offer congratulations (including yours truly). Some cast members walked the room and did their duty as ambassadors for the film, with Lee Pace and Evangeline Lilly winning the award for most friendly and inexhaustible when it came to indulging folks who wanted to chat or snap a photo. (For the record, Lilly also won the award for coolest hair at the party, while Pace won the award for “non-Brit most perfect to be cast as James Bond”).
If you live in LA and haven’t visited the Dolby Theatre yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s instantly one of my favorite film venues (the others being Arclight Hollywood, TCL Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre, and the New Beverly Cinema), and definitely has the best sound.