Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War officially hits theaters today, but many diehard fans came out in droves to their local theaters last night for early Thursday showings. Movie marathons were done at several theaters across the country, and we were lucky enough to attend possibly the best one at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.
Sponsored by Nerdist, tickets were just $40 per person. Eight dollars a movie, not bad right? Wrong. Way better than that because of all of the goodies that were included.
All fans were given a really awesome metal popcorn bucket (I will be bringing mine with me to future movies for sure) with free refills. Three designs were available. A free bottled drink was include but for $7.50 we also opted for a pair of the collectible cups (they had Captain America, Iron Man and Black Panther), once again refillable for the rest of the day for free.
Everyone attending also got an Avengers Alliance comic book. But definitely the coolest item was the Civil War lanyard and medallion, which was metal and very heavy. Captain America’s shield on one side and Iron Man’s arc reactor on the other. Marked with “#TEAMCAP” and “#TEAMIRONMAN” respectively.
The theater opened early Thursday morning so that fans could get settled for the first movie – Captain America: The First Avenger which started at 7am. The movie was introduced by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
After the first movie ended there was a break for fans to stretch their legs and grab a bite to eat. Raffle prizes were also given away, based on your (assigned) seat number. Then it was time for The Avengers which was kicked off by Alexis Denisof who played The Other in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
During this movie I headed downstairs to check out the gallery that had been set up. What an absolute treat for true Marvel fans! One side of the gallery had several screen-worn costumes (Captain America, Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Black Widow and Falcon).
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The other side was full of memorabilia, photos and concept artwork from all five of the movies that we were to see that day. From the compass that Steve Rogers had in The First Avenger with Peggy Carter’s photo inside, to the little notebook that he wrote in during The Winter Soldier. To see all of those pictures and props in person was almost overwhelming to such a huge Captain America fan as myself. It was truly a sight to behold.
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I have probably seen The Avengers at least twenty times, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it on the big screen. I have to tell you, to see it at the El Capitan with a bunch of other crazy Marvel fans gave me goosebumps. Even though everyone there had seen it a bunch of times, people still cheered and laughed as though they were seeing it for the first time. Such a great experience. And Hulk smashing Loki never gets old.
Another break, another raffle giveaway and on to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But during this time lunch was served! Pizza Hut provided cheese and pepperoni pizza, and boneless chicken wings! Again included with the price of admission.
The special guest for this movie was Actor Maximiliano Hernandez who plays Agent Sitwell. Hernandez answered several questions (mostly about the “Hail Hydra” whisper he is now most known for). He also pointed out that he never actually said “Hail Hydra”, it was Garry Shandling who said it to him. Hernandez also took a moment to remember Shandling who passed recently, saying what a joy it was to have gotten to work with him.
Hernandez also said that he’d love to come back to the MCU, and pointed out that “we don’t really know” if Sitwell is dead or not. He hinted at the fact that possibly the Sitwell that was killed was a Life Model Decoy.
During the break after The Winter Soldier my son and I ran to the car to put on our Captain America and Crossbones costumes. We came back during the raffle and just in time, as they called one of our seat numbers and we won a Stan Lee autographed comic book!
They were giving away several items autographed by Stan Lee so it shouldn’t have surprised anyone all that much. But when The Man himself walked out on stage the place went bananas.
Most of the fans gave Stan Lee a standing ovation, and he answered questions about his cameo appearances in the MCU. When asked whether he was Team Cap or Team Iron Man, he simply said “Let the best man win!” We love you, Stan Lee! “Enjoy Age of Ultron!!” and the next movie began.
During our final break we spent some time in the lobby with some fellow cosplayers, taking photos and talking to other fans. You could almost feel the anticipation building because there was only one movie left – Captain America: Civil War!
We were wondering who the final guest would be, and talked about how they couldn’t possibly top Stan Lee. Nerdist Captain Chris Hardwick took the stage and introduced videos from the Russo Brothers and Chris Evans, who were unable to attend but recorded video messages thanking the fans. But Captain America wouldn’t go anywhere with out his best buddy so that’s when Hardwick announced our final guest: Sebastian Stan!
Stan came out to a HUGE ovation and talked with Hardwick about whether or not he should eventually become Captain America (and from the sounds of it, he really wants to do it at some point). Stan even talked about how Marvel has told him that eventually Bucky will become Captain America but how or when he has no idea. Man I can’t wait for that.
At long last Civil War was upon us. The crowd cheered. They laughed. They cried, together. The night finally came to an end. We had a long drive back to San Diego but the adrenaline kept us awake all the way back.
Our experience at the event was simply amazing. I still can’t believe everything that we got was only $40 per person. Everyone at the theater I hope we get to do it again. Soon.