published Friday, April 22nd, 2011

‘Water for Elephants’ debuts today in Chattanooga

The circus is (finally) coming to town.

Local fans will have the opportunity to see “Water for Elephants,” about half a year after a crew spent a month filming on location in the Chattanooga area.

The film, based on the New York Times bestseller by Sara Gruen, follows a Depression-era veterinarian played by Robert Pattinson, who is hired on to care for the animals of a traveling circus. Academy Award winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz play the married couple who own the circus.

Tickets for tonight’s VIP, red-carpet premiere at Carmike Majestic 12 at 7:20 p.m. are sold out, but a section of Broad Street will be closed off for free, circus-style publicity events, including appearances by actor Scott MacDonald and a fire breather.

Additional show times at all Carmike Theaters will be at 2:15, 4:45 and 9:45 p.m. The 7:20 p.m. show at other area Carmike theaters was still available at press time.

Attracting “Water for Elephants” was a major coup that should help establish the city as a go-to location for the region, said city Education, Arts & Culture administrator and film commissioner Missy Crutchfield.

“We’ve got this reputation now,” Crutchfield said. “As long as I can ... make it happen with all the talented people here who can help make [studios’] film experience possible, we’ll keep winning and winning and winning.”


Follow live photo, video and blog coverage of the red-carpet premiere tonight here starting by 6 p.m.

According to a March 22 Education, Arts & Culture news release, “Water for Elephants” generated $1 million for local businesses, making it the most economically impactful film overseen by the commission since it was founded in 2006.

As with 2008’s “Leatherheads,” another period piece and the last major feature to be filmed in Chattanooga, the crew of “Water for Elephants” chose to film in Chattanooga primarily to take advantage of the city’s rich historical railroad ties and natural beauty, Crutchfield said.

During filming last July and August, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum provided a period-appropriate train and dedicated a three-mile stretch of rails to the shoot. Fans of Robert Pattinson, best known as the star of the “Twilight” films, eagerly tracked down locations for his scenes.

Landing a major national release, especially one with such star power, will have a lasting impact on Chattanooga, Crutchfield said.

“‘Water for Elephants’ is ... the biggest film with basically the world’s biggest star, Robert Pattinson, so we hit a double home run,” she said.


What: “Water for Elephants” red-carpet premiere.

When: The 7:20 p.m. showing is sold out at the Majestic, but tickets were still available at press time for other showings there and all showings at other Carmike theaters.

Where: Carmike Majestic 12, 311 Broad St.

Phone: 826-2370.


about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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ordinaryguy said...

This is insane! Pattinson is not the world's biggest star. How about a shag carpet showing of Missy's classic NEW YORK NIGHTS

April 22, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.
hcirehttae said...

What a great country! This guy Pattinson would really be schlepping water for elephants, based on his natural gifts, if it weren't for the purchasing power of overstimulated 13 year old girls. Instead, he's making millions for looking far away, very moody, very broody... sigh...

Ain't America great?

April 22, 2011 at 10:34 a.m.


We're lucky, it could be worse...oh wait, it is,the millions being raked in by the cast of Jersey Shore.

April 22, 2011 at 12:50 p.m.
Sailorman said...


You're being far too kind. Referring to those Jersey bozos as a "cast" might be interpreted as granting some sort of theatrical legitimacy - mistakenly of course.

April 22, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.

Hey will somebody tell me why don't they ever have 'Water for Donkey's' ?

April 30, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
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