by Hans ten Cate
Monday, 10 March 1997

Fierce Creatures premiered to a full fanfare in Los Angeles, January 24, at Universal City's Cineplex Odeon Cinemas. John Cleese and his wife Alyce Faye, as well as Cynthia Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, director Fred Schepisi, and a bevy of celebrity guests were on hand to partake in the festivities. The event was simultaneously a benefit for the Wildlife Preservation Trust International and the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. Meanwhile, Michael Palin was in Australia doing publicity for the film so, sadly, he couldn't join the fun in LA.

Guests coming through the cinema's front entrance were distracted by a very colorful parade of people in animal costumes. John Cleese took the time to talk to a few of them. Among the 700 or so individuals who attended the event were celebs Kelsey Grammer, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Brenda Vaccaro, Julie Delpy, Corey Feldman, Alan Thicke, Ed Begley Jr., Pia Zadora, comedian Richard Jenni, Amy Yasbeck, and Rita Rudner.

Alyce Faye Cleese, excited about the premiere, had reported to PythOnline that she was mostly worried about getting a run in her stockings. "Of course, I immediately got a ladder in my stockings before we even arrived at the red carpet," she reported a week later. "The limo was so big that it looked like a small living room. John wanted a bottle of water and I had to crawl on my hands and knees to the front. Right knee down, presto chango - the magic feeling of a split. So to make a long story short... with a bit of nail polish and lots of sticking to the leg we sailed through the line looking intact. Jamie Lee Curtis looked amazing and was so glamorous."

After the screening, there was a reception at the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal CityWalk. Folks dined on a buffet of broiled chicken, salmon steaks and baked potatoes with fixings, while waiters cruised the party bearing turkey sandwiches, California rolls, chocolate brownies a la mode and strawberries with cream. About $66,000 was collected at the event to be split between the zoo and the wildlife trust.

"Our founder, Gerald Durrell, likened the interrelationship of all species to a spider's web," said Dr. Mary Pearl, executive director of Wildlife Preservation Trust International, in a pre-screening speech. "You touch one thread and every other thread shudders. For every extinction we witness, a host of other animals, plants and fungi vanish at the same time." The trust is the only American charity focused exclusively on endangered-species conservation worldwide.

  • Australia - 23 January 1997
  • USA - 24 January 1997
  • New Zealand - 13 February 1997
  • United Kingdom - 14 February 1997
  • France - 19 February 1997
  • Hungary - 6 March 1997
  • Italy - 14 March 1997
  • South Africa - 14 March 1997
  • Singapore - 27 March 1997
  • Norway - 10 April 1997
  • Brazil - 11 April 1997
  • Sweden - 25 April 1997
  • Portugal - 1 May 1997
  • Argentina - 29 May 1997
  • Germany - 19 June 1997
  • Japan - Fall 1997