Nathan Page and Essie Davis at the premiere.
More than 1,200 people including numerous Phryne Fisher look-alikes flocked to the sold-out premiere of Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace on Thursday night.
Essie Davis and Nathan Page spoke at each of the three public sessions – where applause erupted from the opening scene – and at two VIP/media screenings.
Davis told fans it is a joy to play the character and if enough people pay to see the film “it will give us the opportunity to make more.”
Among the emotional responses, one woman told the producer, Every Cloud Productions’ Fiona Eagger and writer/executive producer Deb Cox, that watching the TV series had “saved her life.”
She did not elaborate but Cox surmises that many women feel “invisible” and depressed and can draw strength from Phyrne.
One young woman told Eagger and Cox she watched the TV show with her mother and grandmother, who has dementia, and that was the only time when all three women can connect.
The Orpheum charged $35 per ticket, including a glass of bubbly, and will allocate two screens and maximum sessions to the Tony Tilse-directed murder-mystery/adventure/romance when it opens next Thursday via Roadshow.
The cinema’s general manager Alex Temesvari says fans started to line-up two hours before the doors opened.
(L-R) Deb Cox, Essie Davis, Tony Tilse, Nathan Page and Fiona Eagger.
“Logistically it was the biggest night we’ve ever run at the Orpheum,” he tells IF. “We’ve hosted many high profile premieres and Q&As over the years but never on so many screens.
“I am really proud of the team for pulling it all off so smoothly. Advance sales for the season are really healthy.”
Davis and Page will host a Q&A screening at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction tonight and attend the Melbourne premiere on Sunday night at the Village Rivoli.
The plot follows Miss Fisher as she frees young Bedouin girl Shirin Abbas (2016 VCA graduate Isabella Yella), who had been unjustly imprisoned in Jerusalem. The stylish sleuth then begins to unravel a WW1 mystery involving a priceless jewel, ancient curses and the disappearance of Shirin’s tribe.
Phyrne’s search takes her to London where she stays with Lord and Lady Lofthouse (Daniel Lapaine, Jacqueline McKenzie) and Lofthouse’s younger brother Jonathon (Rupert Penry-Jones).
Reprising their roles are Ashleigh Cummings as Dorothy ‘Dot’ Collins, Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence Stanley and Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Constable Hugh Collins.
In the US the film will screen in about a dozen cities including the Alamo Drafthouse chain before the March 23 premiere on streaming platform Acorn TV.
Eagger says the US cinemas will extend the season after the Acorn premiere if there is sufficient demand.