SXSW 2018: Steven freakin’ Spielberg introduces ‘Ready Player One’ premiere

“This is not a film that we’ve made. It is, I promise you, a movie.” — Steven Spielberg introducing “Ready Player One,” March 11, 29018, Paramount Theater.

Well, that happened.

Steven Spielberg, as in THE Steven Spielberg, showed up at the Paramount on Sunday night to introduce the world premiere of his new movie “Ready Player One.”

Not this guy:

But this guy:

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As you might imagine, the assembled were very excited indeed.

After a very brief introduction from SXSW Film head honcho Janet Pierson, out came Spielberg with the cast of “Ready Player One,” along with screenwriters Zak Penn and Ernie Cline, the Austin author whose book upon which the film was based.

Spielberg noted that while you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy the fil– uh, movie, he himself has been a gamer for longer than much of the audience had been alive.

“I’ve been a gamer ever since 1974 when I played the first Pong game on Martha’s Vineyard filming ‘Jaws,'” he said.

PHOTOS: “Ready Player One” red carpet arrivals at SXSW 2018

He also noted that while he directs some films from behind the camera, others he directs from the audience — this was the latter. “Your reaction is everything,” he said after the screening.

While the film (review forthcoming) was well received by the packed house, an interesting thing happened at the movie’s very climax: The sound cut out. Then the picture froze.

Everyone had the same thought: “Wait, is that part of the movie? No, it’s not. Someone make sure Janet isn’t having a stroke. Can I stand up for a second? I am going to stand up, my leg is asleep.”

Everyone was chatty and chill about it. Pierson came out and said they weren’t sure what happened, and then another funny thing happened — after a few long minutes, the glitch was repaired…

SXSW 2018: A few things we learned from the “Ready Player One” VR experience

Readers, I have gone to many an event at the Paramount over the past 17 years or so: concerts, movies, stand-up, the works.

I have NEVER, EVER heard a sound like the screams of triumph when the sound and picture was restored, when it was clear the movie would conclude.

Not once, not ever.

This was a moment when everyone was rooting for everything to work and for the movie (not film) to deliver all its punches.

And when it did, the roar was legitimately deafening. It was one of the most joyous (and possibly slightly drunken) sounds I have ever heard, certainly at the Paramount.

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