Mamma Mia! premiere – I was there…

Björn and Frida pictured together at the Mamma Mia! World premiere - 30 June, 2008

Björn and Frida pictured together at the Mamma Mia! movie World premiere – 30 June, 2008 at the Odeon Leicester Square, London

It’ll be so great for all those people that weren’t there to get a flavour of the occasion – and the film, of course. Here’s a list of the main premiere dates:

  • Monday 30 June 2008 (was 1 July) – World premiere: Leicester Square Odeon, London, UK 
  • Wednesday 2 July 2008 – Pathé Tuschinski, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
  • Friday 4 July 2008 – Rival Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden 
  • Wednesday 9 July 2008  – Hoyts Melbourne Central, Australia 
  • Wednesday 16 July 2008  – Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, NY, USA

Broadway World has some pictures from the first publicity stop on the promotional tour, at the Lagonissi Grand Resort, 25 miles from Athens, featuring the cast and creative team including Björn and Benny in pastel shades (see link below)…

If you have any photos to share, please email them in and the best will get published.  I look forward to hearing from you during the next few weeks when the world goes Mamma Mia! and ABBA crazy!

Broadway World photos from Lagonissi Grand Resort

24 Replies to “Mamma Mia! premiere – I was there…”

  1. Reporting live from outside the theatre via my Blackberry, I can tell you that Leicester Square has been transformed into a Greek paradise (well, nearly!) and that the front of the Odeon resembles a beautiful Greek church!

    No sightings of the rich and famous yet, but the rumour is that 3 ‘ABBAs’ will be here later.

    It’s an amazing atmosphere to soak up – all bathed in some beautiful sunny weather too.

  2. Hey ! Don’t forget the premiere here on the beautiful island of Skopelos on Friday (July 4)
    This is where the movie was made last September. I doubt we will have any of the stars, but this really is the Greek island paradise.

  3. Well the three "obvious" ABBAs were there and I got photos of all of them and autographs of Bjorn and Frida. Frida I have not met before but she was lovely – signed loads of things with a good grace. Bjorn seemed a bit grumpy. Benny seemed to be loving the whole experience and I got some great photos of him looking really animated when being interviewed – something he is not necessarily known for. Will post pictures tomorrow. Lovely evening – all the stars out, sun shining….. A happy fan. x

  4. Oh. My. God. Excuse the rubbish review but doing it on my BlackBerry on the train home from the Premiere. The movie was quite simply stunning. It looks incredible you want to pack your bags and go on holiday immediately. It seems to work so much better on film than the show. It sounds fabulous and there are some truly hilarious moments. The only weak cast member was Dominic – but it is not the juiciest of parts.

    I won’t spoil anything (you all know the story anyway) but Dancing Queen has been transformed into a celebration of sisterhood. A spontaneous applause broke out, it was gorgeous to fall in love again with this classic.

    Julie Walters just shone everytime she graced the screen – comic timing par excellance! TWTIA had my partner (hard board, never cries at films or anything), having a little tear. Another round of applause.

    When All Is Said and Done is a truly wonderful and heartwarming moment. Catherine has transformed its meaning and reinvented its narrative.

    I was really worried that we had seen all the best bits in the trailer but I came out buzzing and singing. I can’t tell you how much I loved this film.

  5. What an exciting evening…. Benny very pleased to talk to the press, very grumpy with fans … ditto Bjorn and Frida was a bit subdued too. It’s a different story looking at the pictures on the gettyimages.com and wireimage.com when they are all beaming for the press. Frida looked stunning as always.

  6. A great night! Fantastic atmosphere. Wonderful fans.

    Film surprisingly good (not the biggest fan of the theatre show here), funny and beautiful to look at. Benny’s sound mix and production was luscious.

    No words from Benny and Björn when they appeared on stage at the beginning of the night. Meryl Streep and Julie Walters did all the talking.

    Grabbed a few words with Benny at the end and he seemed really delighted with the occasion.

    All in all, my wife and I would say the premiere experience was worth every penny. Thanks to you Ice, for allowing us the privilege of attending via the Prince’s Trust story you posted a while back. One not to be forgotten in a hurry.

    And as for Frida – that woman is just pure poise, beauty, warmth and class.

  7. I have just driven home from the World Premier – It exceeded my expectations. The crowd before hand was electric – but I agree, Benny looked so grumpy!!! LOL! Meryl Streep looked stunning when she arrived but when she stood up at the start of the Premier, she sounded like she may have had one too many pre-reception drinks!! But she carried it off and we all love her!

    The story comes across so much better in the film than on stage and Meryl Streep is the only person I’ve heard to nearly match Agnetha on "The Winner.." and "Slipping through my Fingers". Both of these scenes/songs were the highlights of the film for me.

    Colin Firth played the part of Harry so well and he CAN sing. Loved "Our Last Summer". Loved the subtle way he "came out".

    Why did they cut "Under Attack" ??- that would have been such fun in the film.

    The Music has been re-crafted by B abd B superbly and given the original songs a new "lift".

    I hope some of these are released as singles – "Lay all your love on me" would go down well with the sexy couple – Dominic and Amanda acting like Sandy and Danny from Grease – the video would be great for TV and appeal to a new younger audience.

    For me the only let down was Pierce Brosnen – he didn’t seem convincing and his singling just killed it for me.

    But that aside it was a fabulous evening and I got my Abba Programme from 1979 signed by Frida and Bjorn and by ….Elaine Page..ironically – she didn’t mind!

    I predict that Mamma Mia will be the best selling film musical of all time and draw in a whole new load of Abba fans!!!! Next: Kristina – The Movie – PLEASE!!

  8. There’s no other was to describe it, yesterday was pure magic.
    No expense was spared with the Worldwide Premiere of Mamma Mia & transformation of Leicester Square & Odeon Cinema into the Greek theme.
    In the middle of the square there was a small Greek church / building, the Blue carpet (Greek flag colours) snaked around the square so there was plenty of room for the public to see the arrivals and the press / TV interviewers were in little sections to interviews & photograph everybody.
    A raised walkway bridge was constructed just before at the entrance to the cinema so everyone could get a good view of all the stars as the made their way in.
    The Cinema itself was ‘wallpapered over’ in white with some large blue Venetian shutters and the tower had a huge bell on it like an old Greek church.

    The atmosphere in the crowds was electric. After all these years there’s still a tremendous feeling of goodwill and affection towards all things Abba and you could really feel this yesterday.
    Stars names were announced as they arrived and cheers and screams could be heard over the Mamma Mia soundtrack which was booming out over the square.
    The highlight for me was to see Frida who looked beautiful and as always spent a bit of time with the fans (some of whom had been queuing since 13.30). Meryl’s dress was shocking red and she was in a bubbly and very happy mood as you’d expect. Benny & Bjorn looked smart, fresh and were unpretentiously grounded as ever.

    We had to be seated by 18.30 inside the cinema. Once inside all the interviews with the stars, scenes of the crowds and hysteria was beamed inside on the big screen live which was brilliant. The Cast & crew all met on the balcony above the entrance of the Odeon for a quick photo shoot before making their was inside the cinema.
    Once everyone was inside Benny, Bjorn, Meryl, Pierce, Colin, Julie, Catherine Johnson, Judy Crammer, Tom Hanks & other stars came onto the main stage. A few words were said by an very zany & enthusiastic Meryl Steep and Judy, the crowds cheered and the movie which we’d all been waiting for began.
    The movie itself is amazing and as everyone said ‘ticked all the right boxes’.
    During the movie there was good audience participation with cheering, clapping along with the songs and applause many times.
    Mamma Mia is hilarious, spectacular, camp, emotional and like ‘Grease’ will appeal to all age groups and will be one of the all time musical cinema greats.
    All the fans I spoke to said it was much better than they had expected & that says something as us fans are fiercely critical & protective of how the Abba brand that we love so much is handled.
    The music carries the Anderson Abba hallmarks which is obviously important as it would not have been the same if somebody else had control of this.
    We sang, laughed and marvelled at the way the songs were portrayed in the movie and at the end during the final credits huge glitter blowing machines filled the cinema with glitter flakes from top to bottom.
    Everyone left the cinema stunned at how breathtaking and fun it was.
    If I’d had the chance I’d had gone straight back in to watch it again!

    Thank you to Helga & the gang at the fan club in Holland for making last night possible and one of the most fun & exciting nights I’d had for years.

  9. A truly wonderful experience to see Frida again after all these years and looking so elegant.

    I managed to get my CD version of Shine autographed. It’s the first time I’ve seen Frida, Bjorn and Benny since Chess Premiere in 1986.

    I went to sleep happy!

    The cast looked great, Meryl was spectacular looking.

  10. I’d like to say a huge, huge thank you to those fans that have taken the time to post their thoughts on last night’s premiere here. They make wonderful reading and really capture the flavour of a very special night.

  11. Not sure who this Dean Piper chap is but he had a few words with Benny…

    "Benny told me that now the film version of the musical has been completed his involvement with the Mamma Mia franchise was coming to an end. He said: ?I think this is enough for the Abba franchise. There?s no theme park planned! I think this is the end of it with Mamma Mia the movie. Unless they want to do a sequel – but we?ll see. It?s a year and a half of hard work on the film so I?m looking forward to see it with an audience. I love the reaction.?
    And is there a plan for an Abba Reunion anytime soon? Nope. Benny told me: ?There?s no plans for an Abba reunion. The whole Mamma Mia ride has been so brilliant. I wasn?t that involved with the show but I was involved with the movie.?
    I also asked Benny (he?s the one with the beard) when he was going to put his feet up and relax. He replied: ?I?m doing it soon! In fact from Saturday. We have the premiere on Friday in Stockholm and then I?m off and relaxing. There?s no retirement, I?ll continue to write always.?

    He also goes on to talk about the after show party at his blog: http://www.deanpiper.com/index.php/2008/07/01/399/trackback/

  12. Just back from the Premiere – WOW!!!! it was FANTASTIC!!!!!
    The whole of the Square was dressed up and looked absolutely stunning.
    I arrived at around 2pm. A small group of onlookers were already in place by then. I managed to get a really good vantage point courtesy of my friends who had got there around midday. We spent the afternoon just chatting and watching as the square was made ready for the event.
    At around 5pm they closed the square off and at about 5.30pm the celebrities started to arrive.
    First up I noticed Claire from Steps who was with soap actress Adele Silva. Next the fabulous Christopher Biggins walked by and came over to chat and have pictures taken with us. Next up along came Ludwig Andersson. He walked along the blue carpet with Mona. I shouted him and he came over and signed also. Bruno Tolioni and Elaine Paige were next. Elaine Paige seemed to think we wouldn’t know who she was but of course we did. I also saw Carol Broughton and John Spalding. We noticed Julie Walters who was stood talking to the press and tv. She was there for absolutely ages. Meryl Streep and Stellen Starsgard came over. She looked stunning in red. Steelan Starsgard signed lots of stuff and spent lots of time with the crowd. Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth really rushed by us as it was almost time for the film to start. Amanda Siegfreid walked past a couple of times but didn’t even acknowledge the crowd as far as I could make out. Gorel Johnson walked by so I shouted her and she came over. The announcer said that Frida had arrived and we noticed a lot of activity over where some other fans were. I thought it can’t possibly be Frida – but it was. She made her way slowly over towards us. She signed many autographs for the people we were stood with. She walked by us and I thought for a moment that she wouldn’t acknowledge us but then she headed back in out direction and came over to sign a few things. i told her she looked beautiful – especially her hair which looked amazing. She thanked me and went. For me the realisation of a dream – I had met Frida however briefly and she had actually signed my Ensam and Arrival CD’s and my autograph book too!
    Benny came over and also signed stuff. He was very jovial and asking how everyone was – very talkative.
    Eventually everyone went into the cinema and we went to eat on the Square. When we came out the stars were just leaving so we hung around. We saw Tom Hanks, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth up really close.
    All in all a brilliant night and one that I shall treasure forever.

  13. I arrived in Leicester Square around 3.30pm and quickly met up with Julie and Richard. They were already in a good position seeing action potentially from two angles.

    The set up in leafy Leicester Square was that of a wedding set up … centred around a fake Greek church which was surrounded by REAL lemon trees ….packed into their tubs with Miracle Gro …. not just any old compost, but the most expensive Miracle Gro! Clearly no expense had been spared on the promotion of this film, right up to the premiere. There were floral trellisses as guests arrived decorated with (fake) bouganvailia, you know that beautiful climbing flower you only get in hot countries. The red carpet was blue! A beautiful cornflower blue, it all looked gorgeous.

    The group of people to my right were film buffs clearly there for Pierce Brosnan or one of the actors … one blabbermouth who wanted to be heard was recalling tales of his meetings with various stars – who was horrible and rude (Meg Ryan and Madonna) and who was lovely (George Clooney and Angelina Jolie) etc. He made no secret of the fact that his autographs were for selling on … and he wasn’t alone. There was a bunch of around 10 ABBA fans near us and then further to the left some young girls there for Dominic Cooper.

    Richard Arnold from GMTV appeared at his alloted media spot along with a familiar face – Kathryn Courtney! We wondered what she was doing "on the other side" and it turned out she was reporting for GMTV (saw the report this morning as "ABBA’s No. 1 Fan"). Richard Arnold came over to talk to us and was really funny, just as he is on TV.

    One of the staff buzzing around passed by in front of us so I asked him what time things were starting and who was likely to be there … he told us he heard 3 of ABBA would be there … this after the Radio Times interview last week when they said that neither Agnetha or Frida would be attending the London premiere …..

    Music started to play through the speakers rigged up in the trees – the Mamma Mia! soundtrack of course … not too loud but still it added to the general buzz around the place and nice to listen to while passing the time. Virtually all of the male voices sounded dodgy but the female vocals all sounded acceptable.

    The area around the church was reserved for the media which meant that the as guests arrived, the stars of the film would filter off to the left to the media and others would filter right to the entrance. This was all happening to our right. But on our left was another entrance … and gradually streams of smartly dressed people filed through heading for the entrance. These must have been the competion winners or people attending the film. I spotted Gunilla Backman from a distance, then John Spalding. I saw Helga who looked gorgeous but seemed to be on her own … and then I saw Vaughan from the back before he disappeared. Then DJ Toby Anstiss from Heart (London radio station) started to warm up the crowds with announcements like "in just a few minutes the stars will start to arrive … " blah blah. Just added to the excitement – and told you what was going on!

    Then I spotted Gunilla Backman again who had reappeared on the right hand side. She seemed to be waiting for someone. I called her name. She looked over, she was probably 4 or metres away, and pointed to herself and mouthed the word, "Me?!" I nodded and she came over, she was beautiful (she’s Swedish!). I said, "we’re the ABBA fans!" and she said, "I was the Swedish Donna!" Yes love, we know who you are! I loved her humility and she seemed very happy to be recognised so far from home. She let us take a photograph of her and then she wandered back to her friend/partner.

    The first star from the film to arrive was Stellan Starsgard … he took a while to get past the press photographers and then once in the central area, it was down to work talking to one reporter after another all along the line and this is how it was for all of the

  14. Yes I have to say I agree with the above comment – Benny, Bjorn and Frida all seemed unwilling to engage with the crowd of their fans – It seemed as if they were reluctant to see us – and ignored everyone’s questions- we’ve all travelled miles to see you and love your music- why the cool response?? "How very dare they?!!"

  15. Thank you ICE for notifying us about the Prince’s Trust tickets. I went last night and had the time of my life!

    You’ve got lots of detail above so I won’t take loads of space up but it was an amazing experience. Seeing everyone up on stage before the movie began added a real level of authenticity and meaning to the whole event and it was amazing watching the movie knowing they were watching upstairs, hence the applause that took place on several occasions. The fact that everyone got up and danced at the end sums up how very infection, happy and appealing the movie is. They have done an amazing job with the movie and the soundtrack is wonderful – I had a good listen today after being able to buy it in the cinema yesterday. Interesting that they seem to have cut The Name of the Game late in the day as it still appears on the CD but wasn’t in the movie; a deleted scene for the DVD perhaps.

    I’m going again on Friday and can’t wait!
    Mxx

  16. I attended the Mamma Mia Premiere in London on the 30th June and was Lucky and very priviledged to come out of the cinema With Bjorn from Abba.

    I’m guessing that when Bjorn came out of the cinema after the film, lots of people would have taken a picture of him and I was next to him right until he got into his car. So if anybody out there has a picture of Bjorn leaving the Odeon cinema Plz plz could they let me know and email it to me!
    (just so you know, I’m the very tall guy next to Bjorn in a black dinner suit)

    Plz plz could you help try and find a picture – I will be your friend for life if anyone has one!
    Plz email me at: Peter@brown-family60.fsnet.co.uk

  17. Hopefully someone here can help. I have 4 tickets/invitations to the Premiere of Mamma Mia! on 7/16 at the Ziegfeld in NY and am looking forward to sharing the experience!
    But I have no idea on what the procedures are for attending a premiere like this.
    Can someone help with a general idea of how these Movie Premiere’s work?
    Do Non-Star attendee’s like us generally dress formal or casual?
    Is it assigned seats or a free for all?
    If seats are not assigned how early should we get there to get decent seats?
    Are camera’s allowed?
    I’ve been told by my contact that our Invitations are to be picked up at Will Call and say 7:30…Is that when the movie starts or approximately when the festivities and star arrivals begin?
    Any other tips for this rookie would be appreciated!
    If responding to my email is more appropriate it is odaat1216@yahoo.com

  18. Thank you to everyone for these great posts. They are fantastic to read for those of us who couldn’t go to an event.

    Gary

  19. I went to the Australian premiere in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

    There wasn’t any of the frenzied excitment of the London and Stockholm premieres, and no ABBA members, but we did have stars Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Dominic Cooper.

    After the red carpet arrivals and champagne in the cinema foyer, we were ushered into the cinema, where every seat had a MAMMA MIA! gift bag, which contained chocolates, skin products, make up, discount vouchers and a MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE iPod nano sleeve.

    Meryl, Colin and Dominic said a few words to introduce the movie, and then it started. The audience reaction was great, with applause after several songs.

    Streamers and confetti were sprayed over the audience duing ‘Waterloo’ in the encore megamix section.

    The stars made their exit during ‘Thank You For The Music’, and then we all left the cinema and were herded onto buses to go to the after party.

    The stars were unfortunately mostly unapproachable during the night. First in a private upstairs room, then in a roped-off VIP section of the main floor. Still, some adoring female fans were lucky to get a photo with Colin Firth, while Dominic Cooper briefly appeared on the dance floor for photos and autographs (I got one of each).

    A great fun night, and judging by the reaction, the movie’s going to be big!

  20. HELLO!

    I’m excited because I’m going to the premiere on July 16, in New York City. Does anyone have any clue at to what time to be there?

    Please comment and let me know!

    Thank You!

  21. Christina…I am going too! As soon as I get a TimeTable from Universal Publicity I’ll post but I have some other information for you. Email me at:

    odaat1216@yahoo.com

    It’s NY & Broadway…Going to crazy!!!

  22. A bit belated but had to leave a note about the Mamma Mia special evening at the Prince of Wales on the premiere night.
    The audience was a mix of return customers and newbie?s which made a great mix as part of the fun of Mamma Mia is the audience reaction to the way the ABBA songs are used. Despite going for ten years this was easily the most high powered performance I have seen of the show so far, every member of the cast gave it their all and deserves praise, its most probably the best all round cast I have seen as well as normally there have been fairly wide variations in vocal ability in previous casts (just like the film!). Several of the younger cast members also show up in the film credits as stags and hens backup dancers.

    The theatre manager came on first and got a rousing cheer before he spoke and again when he said about the draw for tickets and flight to New York premiere. He then said about the TVs in the bars would show clips about the movie AND that there would be free drinks at the interval which got an even louder roar.

    As said the performance really rocked ? Does your mother know and Take a chance got the biggest cheers but all the performances, lighting and sound really were top mark and unlike some long running shows no one was just coasting. Even the set looks pristine and I like the way it encases the whole stage ? there are no gaps where you can see into the wings which can be off putting.

    One special moment was during the I Do bit when the cast had started the song and then as the music stops waiting for Donna to reply some ladies in the circle (possibly after enjoying the free drinks) who had been singing along carried on singing the I Do chorus which seemed to catch the cast out and several were clearly laughing, Sam and Donna especially.

    Midway though the Mamma Mia encore and the audience were on their feet and Dancing Queen had arms waving and singing along. The Theatre manager came on to announce the draw and the winner came on stage to collect his price tickets from the Dynamos (lucky guy!) During Waterloo we got confetti and streamers raining down and on the way out everyone got a goodie bag as the film goers containing the film programme, the soundtrack of the movie and a bag of malteasers.
    Walking out via the stalls bar it looked as if they were holding a party there afterwards as there was food and DJ decks, if it was for the cast it was well deserved as they really did give an outstanding performance. The audience were filmed and interviewed during the evening so possibly we have another TV show or DVD coming out unless the web site will feature them.

    As said bit late but the cast deserve a special mention for making Mamma Mia the show just as vibrant and exciting as the film and performing as if it was a opening night!

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