On Saturday, April 16, we hosted Cocktails with Team Rosie, a Water for Elephants fan gathering event at Bridges Bar inside Hilton New York. The huge windows inside the bar provided the ultimate backdrop to our event due to being located directly across the street and facing the entrance to the Ziegfeld Theater. Originally, we had set up this gathering for 18 friends to meet up and celebrate the premiere. After posting the event on our Facebook page, interest began to grow, and so did our RSVP list – to a final list of 184 confirmed and scores of readers promising to bring their friends.
The party started at 6pm, and fans were already milling about and getting a head start to the evening’s festivities. The first to introduce himself to us was Bruce from Circus Fans Association of America, who in turn introduced us to Gary Payne, Vice President of the Association and personal friend of author Sara Gruen.
The Hilton went all out. They set up a table for our VIPs to sign autographs and had a Water for Elephants movie poster mounted and standing on the table. They even borrowed our special cocktail menu to create custom table tent menus for every table in the bar and all along the bar! They also marked down all our movie-themed specialty drinks to a reasonable $10 each – very inexpensive for New York City!
Shortly after the event began, actor Mark Povinelli, who plays Kinko/Walter in the movie, arrived and a line grew to about 150 fans and snaked through the entire bar. Though Mark’s publicist had only agreed to a 30 minute appearance, Mark was very generous with his time and stayed a full hour so that every fan would receive an autograph and pose for a photo with him.
It was a joy for us to see so many of our readers join us for this event, and it was an absolute pleasure meeting each person. We were, however, extremely bummed when we spotted a line growing outside the theater IN THE POURING RAIN where fans planned to camp out for wristbands to view the red carpet arrivals. Many fans chose to leave our event and assume their position across the street. (Special thanks to the sweetheart that tried to trump our event by starting the line. ;))
As Mark was about to leave, the social media representative from 20th Century Fox arrived with Water for Elephants movie producer Andrew Tennenbaum, actress Donna Scott (plays Barbara in the movie), and author Sara Gruen! It was unbelievable! Fox even brought 125 movie posters for Sara to autograph for the fans. Again, a long line grew and Sara signed books and posters, and posed for pictures with anyone that asked her.
One thing we learned that night is that Sara is really funny about “posing” for photos. She likes to have a natural look on her face in pictures she poses for. Every photo included a countdown, with Sara’s back to the camera, and a “1-2-3-BETTY!” then she would whip around and FLASH the picture was taken. When Team Rosie got an opportunity to pose with her, we all played along with the countdown and here is the result:
Actress Donna Scottgave Kinkers Tink and Deb an impromptu interview. (We will be doing
a special post on that later this week.) Donna was an absolute sweetheart, taking the time to get to know each of the girls that make up Team Rosie. She is drop dead gorgeous, in the film and in real life! Teaser: she told us what it was like kissing on Robert Pattinson! Check it out later this week.
Producer Andrew Tennenbaum expressed his lack of surprise for fans standing in the freezing, pouring rain for a chance to be sideline for the red carpet arrivals. He told me, “one thing that I have learned over the years, that in this business you never underestimate the fans.” I told him how I had read box office gross estimates for Water for Elephants and that I thought the figures were low. I told him it was my opinion that Water for Elephants would be an instant classic; a timeless movie like Titanic or Forrest Gump that you can pop in to the DVD player or watch on TBS and it never gets old. He told me that his girlfriend had told him something similar after previewing the film three times. I then asked him what was the producer’s estimate for box office receipts, but he only gave me a poignant answer, “you know, we have an incredible cast and we made a great movie. We’re expecting great word of mouth with this film and we’re confident in the picture we made.”
Toward the end of our event, producer Gil Netter arrived and I grabbed a quick picture of him chatting with Sara.
Sara impressed us all by staying TWO HOURS to sign and photograph with every single fan in attendance. We had been told she was stopping in for 15 minutes, so you can imagine our surprise that she stayed so long! She refused to accept our multiple thank yous and told us it was her pleasure to be there. We were later told by Fox that it was Sara’s idea to come to our event, and that she specially requested for Fox to reach out to us to set it up. (We’re not worthy!)
Sara also noted that she had seen all the fans starting to “camp standing up” in the freezing rain outside, and she proclaimed to us, “anyone that waits in THIS rain will meet me.” And that is what she did! We wrapped up the event and followed Sara over to the line outside Ziegfeld Theater, with Kinker Deb playing personal assistant. Deb held an umbrella over Sara’s head as she made her way down the line of fans and autographed items and posed for pictures. It was adorable watching her attempt the 1-2-3-BETTY while trying to remain under the umbrella. Sara was soaked to the bone, even her leather purse was ruined. I grabbed video as proof!
All in all, we estimate that some 250-300 fans joined us, at some point, during our cocktail “hour” that lasted 3 hours. We owe a HUGE thank you to Mark Povinelli, Sara Gruen, Donna Scott, Andrew Tennenbaum, Gil Netter and Megan from Fox. Thank you, SO MUCH. Additional thanks to Hilton New York for helping us pull off a successful event. Thanks again to all our readers that joined us – we hope you had a great time meeting the VIPs and fellow fans.
– Team Rosie
PS: For those reading this that were at the party, please upload your photos to our Facebook Fan Page. We can’t wait to see them!
More photos, taken by our friends at Pattinson Post! Thanks Jen, Sabrina and Greg! Our own photos in the gallery as well.