Disney’s Cruella Holds First Big Premiere in Hollywood Since the Pandemic Began

As the world begins to emerge tentatively from the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney were unsurprisingly the first studio to give us the first major Hollywood premiere in over a year for its upcoming movie, Cruella. The world premiere of the movie, which sees Emma Stone take on the eponymous role of the iconic 101 Dalmatians villain, took place at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles.

Despite the now common social distancing and safety restrictions, which saw the event take place on a much smaller scale than a new Disney release would usually warrant, the sight of a red carpet was something that served as a sure sign that cinema is definitely ready to make a comeback. Cruella arrives on Memorial Day weekend in theatres and on Disney + Premier as part of Disney’s hybrid release strategy, which is likely to be in place for a little while yet until theaters around the world are ready to go it alone once more.

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The red carpet event, which only allowed in-house Disney crew to film and ask questions along with a very select number of photographers, saw Emma Stone joined by her co-star Kirby Howell-Baptiste and the movie’s director Craig Gillespie, as well as other stars from the film and Disney CEO Bob Chapek. A notable absence from the premiere were many of the movie’s British stars, such as Joel Fry and Emma Thompson, who were unable to travel to the US for the occasion, but the limited numbers allowed inside the theater was always going to see a limited number of attendees.

The last year has been a challenging time for movie studios, with major releases such as Marvel’s Black Widow and the much anticipated Ghostbusters Afterlife having multiple delays until both promotions and cinema releases could be guaranteed. With publicity and premieres a major part of any movie launch, it seems that now it is time for Hollywood’s rebirth to begin, with Disney, as usual, one of the first to dip a toe in the water. US cinemas have been gradually reopening, with around 65% now accepting limited audiences, and with Cruella opening on May 28th along with A Quiet Place Part 2, it will mark the first time since March 2020 that two brand new Hollywood blockbusters have shared a marquee.

A prequel to Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, which was based on the novel by Dodi Smith, Cruella tells the story of young Estella (Stone), a young grifter in the middle of London’s punk revolution of the 70s who wants to become the next big name in fashion. She soon catches the eye of fashion icon Baroness von Hellman (Thompson), but their working relationship soon turns sour and the enigmatic Estella is set on the path to become the dog-napping villainess with a love of furs.

With a number of big movie releases expected in the next few months, we are likely to see more of the glitz and glamor of the Hollywood publicity machine to come, and for many it is just another welcome sign that slowly but surely there are at least some things returning to a kind of normality. This news originated at The Hollywood Reporter.