An advance screening of This is Us, the new documentary about One Direction, was a first-come, first-serve affair in Los Angeles that planned to let in a mere fraction of the hundreds of patrons that obtained free tickets. Try to manage your best surprised face, but that didn’t go off too well.
The screening, which took place at L.A.’s Pacific Theatres at the Grove last Saturday morning (Aug. 3), was delayed after hundreds of fans, scorned by their denial of entry after the first 100 in line were admitted, proceeded to rushed the theater, causing employees to contact police to help quell the crowd, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Apparently, This is Us (watch the trailer) was to be shown before an audience that received free tickets on Gofobo, a website that allows visitors the opportunity to get into advance screenings of many Hollywood films. The website supplied more tickets than there were spots in the theater, but that didn’t stop the hundreds in line at the screening to remain optimistic about their chances of getting a seat inside.
The film was set to begin at 10 a.m., with some of the line leaders having arrived at 3:45 a.m. to secure a spot, the Times says. The first 100 were let into the theater, surrendering cellphones. Afterward, there were still empty seats, but by 10:15 a.m. — 15 minutes after the scheduled start — there was still no movie onscreen and an usher had come in to implore the audience to remain calm, that fans outside that hadn’t yet been admitted were rushing the theater.
According to Lizette Van Patten, a 40-year-old mom who had brought her 13-year-old daughter and her friend, hundreds of the turned-away fans — mostly young and female — blew past the ticket takers and into the theater entrance.
“They charged and went straight past the ticket takers for the doors of the actual theater screaming, ‘Let us in! Let us in!'” she recalled. That apparently went on for a half hour before two police arrived and began “palming kids down and shoving them outside.”
Allysa Mae De Guzman, a 16-year-old fan who was part of the scorned mob that rushed the theater, added that when she got inside, “the red ropes that block the entrance to the theater were on the floor. It was pretty scary because people were tripping on the floor and pushing and stuff like that.”
Van Patten added that, while she had been to premieres before and had seen fans go nuts over big-name stars, she’d seen “nothing like this. Now I’m really convinced that One Direction is like the Beatles of this generation.”
This isn’t necessarily anything new for the boys of One Direction. The five-piece boy band has been met with crazed fans all across the world, including, for instance, in New York last year, when member Niall Horan was escorted back to his hotel after fans caught wind of his location, banging on the windows of the place so hard that the hotel employees thought the glass might break.
Hey, at least the boys themselves weren’t at the screening. Can you imagine the pandemonium then?
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com