The Greatest Spectacle In Moviegoing

Hollywood hits the Brickyard

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Friday evening saw the Pagoda Plaza at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway transformed into an outdoor cinema, giving new meaning to the term drive-in. The film: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. The fourth and most recent installment of the popular Wimpy Kid film franchise, it’s the story about a family road trip gone wrong.

Fans of the family-friendly franchise came out in force for the event. Many proudly wore Wimpy Kid t-shirts and clutched copies of the books on which the films are based. Pre-movie entertainment included face-painting, tile-painting, and bludgeoning others with balloon mallets fashioned by a balloon artist. DJ Kurt Streblow provided the soundtrack to this pre-screening revelry—although his musical selections were occasionally drowned out by boy band Forever In Your Mind as they rehearsed their rendition of the national anthem (complete with fighter jet flyovers) in preparation for Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix.

This wasn’t just any showing. It was the movie’s world premiere. And of course, no movie premiere would be complete without a red carpet, and this one was no exception. On hand was actor Jason Drucker, who plays “wimpy kid” Greg Heffley. Also present were Alicia Silverstone (and her son Bear) and Tom Everett Scott (and his son Finn), who play his parents. Rounding out the group were director David Bowers (and his daughter Sophia) as well as Jeff Kinney, who conceived and wrote the Wimpy Kid book series. (Silverstone and Kinney will also wave the green flag for the fourth-annual IndyCar Grand Prix on the IMS road course on Saturday.)

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a natural fit for the premiere. For one thing, says Scott, “In the movie, the destination is Indiana.” And, explains Bowers, “The movie’s called ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.’ So many families make the long haul across country to come to the Indianapolis 500. We thought it would be great to have a family event here where so many families have made road trips themselves.” President of IMS Doug Boles agrees: “It’s a perfect fit and a great honor for us to host this event featuring the stars from such a popular movie and book series.” The premiere, he says, “further enhances the IndyCar Grand Prix weekend as one of the best family-oriented events of the year in Indianapolis.”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is slated for national release on Friday May 19.

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