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‘Wolverine’ premiere packs them in

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loganHugh Jackman arrives at Tempe Marketplace for the premiere of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on Monday.
Thomas Boggan, Tribune.

After defeating over 1,300 other cities in an online contest for the opportunity, thousands of people gathered at the Tempe Marketplace on Monday for the world premiere of the summer’s first big movie, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The event brought out comic book fans, celebrity seekers and people watchers. All 16 screens of the Harkins Theater were set to screen the movie for the big night.

Slideshow: “Wolverine” movie premiere
Wolverine himself (and Oscar host) , Hugh Jackman made a grand entrance on a motorcycle accompanied by the cheers of adoring fans. Jackman congratulated Tempe on winning the contest, becoming one of the first cities outside of New York and Los Angeles to host a major movie premiere.

In addition to Jackman several stars from the movie were in attendance, including Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), (John Wraith), Lynn Collins (Kyla Silverfox), Liev Schreiber (Sabretooth), and others.  Tempe mayor Hugh Hallman was in attendance to welcome the cast. He commemorated the day by officially declaring it X-Men Day in Tempe.

Attendees had a variety of motivations for coming out to the gala event.
Anna and Rick Schmidt, of Gilbert, were lucky enough to avoid waiting in long lines for tickets by winning them online. The couple, self-proclaimed “fans of Hugh,” were looking forward to the action-packed movie.

Comic book fan Robert Kirkpatrick, of Mesa, was one of the many people who voted online to help bring the film to town, even enlisting some out-of-town support. “I have friends in Pennsylvania that I told to vote for Tempe, since (Pennsylvania) wasn’t going to win anyway.” He was excited for X-Men spin off noting “The X-Men movies have basically been Wolverine movies. It’s about time they gave him his own.”

Others were more interested in the opportunity to see some of the celebrities up close. Kristen Wells, of Gilbert, said “I don’t have a ticket or a plan, really. I just want to see Ryan Reynolds.”

Tickets to see the movie were in high demand. Online sellers were asking for up to $200 per ticket. Several people at the event were charging between $75 and $100.

The enthusiasm and high turnout surprised Nick Plummer from Queen Creek, who was wearing two of the countless promotional foam Wolverine claws. “Hopefully, we impressed some people. It’d be great if we had another opportunity like this.”

For those not lucky enough to attend the premiere, the movie opens on Friday.

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