More than the popcorn tubs were supersize at the Dec. 5 New York premiere of King Kong. The gala featured a 20-foot replica gorilla, a closed-off 42nd Street at rush hour, and a riverfront after-party teeming with jungle foliage, canine vaudeville shows, shoeshine boys, and guests including George Lucas, Lindsay Lohan, and Will Ferrell. The blowout arguably the city's splashiest since Godzilla took over Madison Square Garden in 1998 likely cost Universal Pictures about $2 million, according to party planners at rival studios. (A Universal rep declined to name a figure.)
''I'm not overwhelmed by the scope,'' said Jack Black. ''I'm stoked by the scope!'' Simultaneously playing on 38 screens at two Times Square multiplexes for an audience of 8,000, the three-hour action epic attracted all the film's stars, including Black, Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts, and Colin Hanks, as well as director Peter Jackson, who walked the red carpet clutching his ''date'': a 72-year-old skeletal model from the 1933 Kong. Watts, after gamely posing in the faux Kong's palm, was clearly blown away by the event: ''It's pretty intense.''