“Pocahontas” fever swept Central Park on Saturday, turning the Great Lawn into an outdoor theater for 100,000 ticketholders at the world’s largest movie premiere.
Despite occasional rain, the heavily hyped animated movie from Disney began at 9:30 p.m. after thousands spent a muggy afternoon waiting inside the fenced compound picnicking, buying “Pocahontas” souvenirs and dancing to music.
The film - the bittersweet love story of an Indian princess and English Capt. John Smith - flickered on four 80-by-120-foot screens amid Manhattan skyscrapers.
When the movie began, a loud cheer rose from the crowd. But rain began about at the same time and viewers used umbrellas and blankets to shield themselves. No one left and the rain stopped shortly afterward.
The gates had opened an hour early, at 2 p.m., after thousands of people crowded the park’s fringe. There were lines up to 90 minutes long to get Pocahontas souvenirs: a $25 picnic blanket; a $20 T-shirt; a $20 doll; and even a $20 Pocahontas rain poncho.
The guests sat atop 18,000 square feet of artificial turf, making the park’s Great Lawn the greenest it’s been in years. There were 305 portable restrooms, the most ever at a Central Park show.