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Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Premièring the Rhyl thing
Me Myself and Irene
Jim Carrey plays a schizophrenic state trooper
Another week, another film première ... in a seaside resort in north Wales. An altruistic bid to spread the glamour, or is there an ulterior motive?

Film premières are typically glitzy affairs, offering film fans a chance to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars in the flesh.

Typically, the star-struck flock to London's Leicester Square, home to big cinemas linked to the big distributors.

Bright lights, big première
London: Gladiator, The Beach, X-Men...
Birmingham: The Perfect Storm
Sheffield: The Full Monty
Edinburgh: Time Code, Dancer in the Dark, The House of Mirth, Return to Me, Entrapment
Stirling: Braveheart
Winchester: Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Human Traffic
North Wales: First Knight, August
Yet two of the biggest films out this year - Jim Carrey's latest offering, Me, Myself and Irene, and nautical drama The Perfect Storm - opened outside the capital.

On Wednesday night, Rhyl in north Wales will host the first British screening of Me, Myself and Irene.

The seaside town secured the première thanks to Steve Higginson, a vice-president of 20th Century Fox, who played for Rhyl Town Football Club in the 1970s and this year became a club director.

But fans of the film's star - and followers of high-profile extra Anna Kournikova - look set to be disappointed.

No "talent" is likely to be in town for the screening, says a Fox spokeswoman, because it is a regional première to benefit local charities.

Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney
Storm warning: Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney
In July, Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney and co-star Mark Wahlberg crossed the Atlantic for The Perfect Storm's UK première.

The screening marked the opening of the 5,800-seat Star City megaplex, the latest addition to the Warner Brothers' empire.

It will come as no surprise that Warner Brothers were the film's distributors.

The presence of the man hailed as the world's sexiest hunk guaranteed maximum exposure for both the film and the complex.

Braveheart country

The decision to screen a première outside London often comes down to the project having strong links to an area.

Full Monty
The Full Monty: Shot in Sheffield
Braveheart premièred in Stirling, where Mel Gibson's William Wallace triumphed over the English; and The Full Monty - unemployed steelworkers stripping for cash and empowerment - opened in Sheffield.

Winchester, a one-cinema city in Hampshire, may seem an unlikely choice for a film première.

Yet the cinema, part of Mainline Pictures' Screen chain, is the venue of choice for film adaptations of Jane Austen's works.

The city was once home to the novelist, who was buried at Winchester Cathedral.

"We're not far from London, it's a lovely cinema in a converted church, and the family who run it are very well-connected in the film distribution world," says a Winchester City Council tourism spokeswoman.

Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson in London
The capital typically hogs glitzy film premières
In 1996, Porthmadog in north Wales hosted the European opening of First Knight, starring Sir Sean Connery and Richard Gere, and filmed near Snowdonia.

Hugh Jones, the local film commissioner, persuaded Colombia Tri-Star to go outside London.

"I sold them the idea that it would be a bit quirky to hold it in north Wales."

At first, no one expected the film's stars to attend the event: "But Julia Ormond turned up and we had a lovely night."

The same year, Anthony Hopkins chose Theatre Clwyd in Mold to première August, his first outing as a director. The celluloid project grew from his stage production at the same venue.

Rival to London

Hosting a première has spin-off benefits for the venue, says Matt Lloyd of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Edinburgh premiere of Return to Me
Scottish links: David Duchovny is from Aberdeenshire stock
"The Cameo [in Edinburgh], a small independent cinema, exists on having a reputation boosted by these events."

The cinema hosted the UK première of the Blair Witch Project at last year's festival - tickets to the midnight screening sold out in minutes.

Mark Rogers, assistant manager at Edinburgh's Odeon multiplex, has said the Scottish capital would soon give London a run for its money.

"The distributors are starting to recognise the facilities we can offer, and they are now realising it's not just Leicester Square that can host these premières."

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See also:

20 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Clooney hits Birmingham
11 Apr 00 | Scotland
Scotland takes centre stage
25 May 00 | Scotland
Duchovny's Highland fling
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