FIRST NIGHT: No gimmicks needed for comic hit: Four Weddings And A Funeral: Odeon, Leicester Square
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Thursday 12 May 1994
Instead, all the first night guests at the charity premiere in aid of Comic Relief and the Elton John Aids Foundation were asked to come in wedding gear. The invitation was endearingly and chattily British. 'Can you imagine,' it says on the ticket, 'how wonderful it will be - 1,000 brides and 1,000 grooms in one cinema.'
Last night, an array of British talent including Andrew Lloyd- Webber, Helena Bonham-Carter, Harry Enfield, Twiggy, Bananarama and Lenny Henry decked out in morning suit, top hat and cane found confetti throwers, church choir and an organ in Leicester Square, London.
But gimmicks aside, this film is on course to be the most successful British-made film ever. And it contains neither Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson nor Sir Anthony Hopkins.
It is currently number one at the US box office, where it has taken dollars 20m ( pounds 13m), already recouping its investment four times over. And the marketing of the wedding theme was the initial way it caught the public imagination in the US.
Some cinema managers there offered free tickets to couples arriving in tuxedos and wedding dresses, but its success owed more to word-of-mouth recommendations which are just as likely to make it a box office number one in England.
But no gimmicks were actually necessary for this film and it received a huge ovation from the first-night audience. Scripted by Blackadder writer Richard Curtis, it was a tribute to what British talent can achieve on a low budget.
The comedy, directed by Mike Newell, centres round a group of thirtysomethings and the pressures of marriage on them. Hollywood's Andie MacDowell, the only star of the film not present last night, rescues Britain's Hugh Grant from his anxieties and repression.
It is a joyously funny and heartwarming film, which is clearly the first answer to the recent, publicly uttered prayers of the British film industry to make more commercial films.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...