16 Aug 2016

7 Box Office Smashes That Premiered Right Here At The O2

It’s not all about live music at The O2, you know. We like to throw the odd star-studded movie premiere when we’re in the mood, too. While we gear up for the awesome Empire Live weekend in September, crammed full of films, parties, events and workshops, we got reminiscing about some of the biggest and best premieres so far. 

The Chronicles of Narnia

The crowd at The O2’s screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was crowned the biggest audience of any London film premiere EVER! It attracted a whopping 10,000 people, including Liam Neeson, David Walliams and the show’s break-out star Ben Barnes. To celebrate Disney’s 2008 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe sequel, The O2’s Peninsula Square was transformed into a magical Narnia complete with duelling knights, sword performers on horseback and a 190-metre-long red carpet. The 50,000-watt sound system inside wowed the crowd as they watched a brave Prince Caspian battle King Miraz for the throne and Eddie Izzard playing a sword-toting mouse.


The Simpsons Movie

After 18 years and 400 episodes, it finally happened: Homer and the gang hit the big screen. The O2 hosted the film’s UK premiere and rolled out the yellow carpet for a bumper celeb crop. Guests stepped through a giant sculpture of Homer’s open mouth, accompanied by the TV show’s unmistakable theme tune played on the sax. The film grossed $27.8 million in its opening weekend at the UK box office, making it the second biggest UK opening for a 20th Century Fox film EVER. Woop! All together now: spider pig, spider pig…



The Hunger Games

In 2012, The O2 hosted the superstar-studded European premiere of first The Hunger Games film, which went on to become a massive, worldwide phenomenon. Screaming fans watched the movie’s stars rock the red carpet: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Toby Jones and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence. The movie went on to earn just under $700 MILLION around the world.Oh, and a fun Hunger Games fact for you: the director kept a swear jar on set because the actors were all so potty-mouthed. Jennifer Lawrence coughed up the most cash, naughty girl.




Never Say Never

Justin Bieber’s 3D film made its European debut at The O2 in 2011 and his teenage fans were just a little enthusiastic about it (THREE DIMENSIONAL Justin Bieber – the dream!). Jessie J, Alesha Dixon and Jamelia all made appearances, and Biebs (who’s coming back to The O2 in October) served himself a helping of nachos and a slush puppy before the movie (which, by the by, made a rather healthy $98 million at the box office). He also got a lot of marriage proposals…



After Russell Brand starred in the remake of the ‘80s classic about a childish, usually-drunk millionaire who needs to get married to fix his reputation, he predictably made a slight splash at his premiere at The O2. Earlier in the day, he told reporters that he’d love to be looked after by Mirren (who played his nanny): "I've never had a nanny or employed a nanny, but if I were to, I would go down the Hobson route as opposed to the Mary Poppins route. You can't trust anyone who uses an umbrella as a flying machine."



StreetDance 2

If you’ve never seen anybody body-pop or salsa on a red carpet, you’ve been missing out. Stars of the dance sequel dusted off their moves outside The O2 before watching the film on the big screen, and dance crew Flawless – who feature in the film – proclaimed it to be a ‘sexy fusion of fire’.


Cowboys & Aliens   

You’d think things couldn’t get much better than a film called Cowboys & Aliens. But then you find out it stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford AND Sam Rockwell, and it’s directed by Jon Favreau of Ion Man and The Jungle Book fame. Oh, and it’s about a spaceship landing on earth in 1873 and taking over the Wild West. Yes, please! Well, the movie got the enormous premiere it deserved in 2011, when ‘Empire Presents… Big Screen’ put on a show at The O2. James Bond and Indiana Jones strutted their stuff on the red carpet looking suave as ever, along with Favreau and Olivia Wilde.


If that’s got you all fired up to see a film at The O2, well we don’t blame you. Luckily there’s loads coming up at Empire Live next month, including first-look screenings, pop-up parties and celeb appearances, so book a ticket or three, treat yourself to some popcorn and come rub shoulders with the stars.


Header Image: Khedara Ariyaratne