WASHINGTON — The nation's capital may have the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, but yesterday the hottest ticket in town was the world premiere of "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian."
Held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the red carpet was star-studded, with a guest list that included Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Hank Azaria and more.
A follow-up to 2006's [article id="1549412"]wildly successful "Night at the Museum,"[/article] "Battle of the Smithsonian" finds Ben Stiller's character — now a successful business owner — racing to the Washington landmark to assist his magical friends, who are locked in storage in the museum's vast underground vault at the mercy of an ancient Egyptian tyrant played by Azaria.
The project marked the first time a major film had been shot at the institution, and the majestic nature of the event wasn't lost on its stars.
"It's great to be here in the Smithsonian, because we filmed the movie here too," Stiller told MTV News. "You don't really get to do a premiere in the Smithsonian that often."
Like Stiller, the premiere's iconic location found another fan in Robin Williams, who reprises his role as the rough-riding 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.
"I wish they gave us two hours just to wander around," Williams said, before running through a quick, from-memory list of some of the surrounding items on display. "I love being in this museum. I've been once before. You can't spend enough time here."
Outside, hundreds of onlookers gawked at the festivities, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars. Dozens of young female spectators also crowded the steps, urged on by Jonas Brothers fan sites who falsely reported that the pop singers would be making an appearance. The trio play angelic cupids in the film, spinning their songs for Stiller and his love interest, Amy Adams, who plays aviator and American legend Amelia Earhart.
Back inside, as the event began to wind down, Owen Wilson — back as the gun-slinging miniature cowboy — was perhaps the most contemplative about the experience.
"This is something special," Wilson said. "To be in D.C. and here at the Smithsonian — it's very exciting."
"Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" charges into theaters on May 22.
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