The world premiere of Tim Burtons CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY took place at Graumans Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, July 10, 2005. Hundreds of screaming fans waited behind barricades on a hot, sultry afternoon to greet the new Willy Wonka, Johnny Depp; his co-star, Freddie Highmore (Charlie Bucket); and director Tim Burton as they walked across a chocolate-covered carpet into the legendary theatre. Despite the heat, Johnny spent time signing autographs for the crowd, many of whom had broiled for hours waiting for a glimpse of him. Members of the Zone who attended the premiere in a group organized by johnnybloom were exceptionally fortunate, as Johnny visited their section of the barricades to sign autographs and say hello. The many Zoners who encountered Johnny at the premiere found him gracious, modest, and thoroughly charming.
The afterparty, a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish foundation, was held at Jim Henson Studios, which Warner Bros. transformed into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for the occasion. Guests could gobble up all the Wonka Bars, Laffy Taffy and Gobstoppers they desired. According to VARIETY, most of the party took place outdoors, at game booths and candy stations, but "there was also an inside tent, complete with another sugar stash, an array of videogames and plush couches to unwind on." Johnny attended the party with his partner Vanessa Paradis, who toured the candy stations with considerable success. USA TODAY reported that "Depp and Paradis shared a sweet kiss over her Wonka Bar- and Pixy Stix-filled bucket."
The Zone thanks bonnie and Susanne for contributing the pictures in this gallery, and AnaMaria for her assistance with editing and posting. We send a special thank-you to johnnybloom, who donated six candid photos from her personal collection. They include the two center pictures on row 8, of Johnny surrounded by photographers, and all four pictures on row 9, which were taken as Johnny approached and greeted johnnybloom in the autograph line. What wonderful souvenirs of an unforgettable day!