The Marine meets the big screen
Electric – it’s the one word to describe
the day of the world premiere of WWE Films’ The Marine. WWE
Champion John Cena, RAW Superstars and Divas, movie director John
Bonito, actress Kelly Carlson and WWE.com were all on hand for the
exciting premiere day at United States Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton
in sunny Southern California on Tuesday. It was a historic day the WWE
Champion will never forget.
WWE.com spoke exclusively with Cena upon his arrival at Camp Pendleton. The WWE Champion was thrilled to be at the base for the big day.
“We are here at Camp Pendleton to premiere The Marine. This is a very important day for WWE Films and for me. It’s fantastic that we have the USMC on board. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie today. It’s my first time seeing it on the big screen,” Cena said.
The WWE Superstars and Divas made their first stop on the base – a busy chow hall where Marines who were eating lunch were able to meet and greet Cena, Triple H, Ric Flair, Carlito, Jonathan Coachman, Maria, Candice, Bonito and Carlson. They took a few moments to stop to sign autographs and take photos with the WWE fans.
“We went and said hello and had a little meet and greet with some of the soldiers here at the base, sharing the happiness and love,” Carlito said. “They were very happy to see us. Of course they were very excited to see Carlito, as always. It’s a good day. I think we brought a smile to everyone’s face. That’s what we’re here to do.”
After the chow hall, the Superstars and Divas headed to the Seventh Engineer Support Battalion, the site of a Marines obstacle course. More than 500 Marines were there to greet Cena and the others. The scene was electrifying – the crowd gathered was extremely excited to meet the WWE stars. A large group of Marines gathered around Flair and joined in on a loud “Wooo!” with the Nature Boy, while the male Marines enjoyed taking photos with Candice and Maria.
“Ric Flair has to be my favorite WWE Superstar,” said female Marine Sgt. Baker. “And I got to meet him today!”
“We love coming to the military bases, especially today, having the premiere of The Marine later today,” Coachman said.
Some of the Marines showed their athletic abilities on the difficult obstacle course. Triple H yelled out to the crowd, “Who wants to see Coach do the obstacle course?” Coachman shot back, “I didn’t bring a towel. I didn’t bring soap,” so a Marine nearby yelled out, “There’s a fire hydrant over there!” The last Marine to complete the obstacle course had a tough time climbing up the final rope, but his efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as Maria planted a kiss on his cheek once he finished the course.
“It’s exhilarating to meet the WWE Superstars,” said Staff Sgt. Santiago. “My favorites are Triple H and Carlito. I like what he does with the apple!”
The Superstars also visited the Wounded Warrior Center, where wounded
soldiers – most of whom fought in Iraq – are staying for
rehabilitation. They toured a few rooms, the computer lab and the lounge.
They met a few wounded Marines and stopped to take photographs in front of
an Iwo Jima memorial on the wall. It was an emotional moment for both the
soldiers and the WWE Superstars.
“My day has been absolutely wonderful so far. We had a chance to meet some injured Marines. We had a chance to meet some Marines who have recently returned home,” Cena told WWE.com. “This is what an event should be like. It shouldn’t be the quote-unquote place to be. Now this is the place to be. It’s a pleasure to be spending the day with these men and women.”
After touring the base and meeting soldiers, the WWE Superstars prepared for the big red carpet event that evening. Around 5 p.m., their limos started rolling up to the Camp Pendleton movie theater, where a giant, energized crowd more than 1,000 had gathered earlier that afternoon to watch the red carpet festivities, hosted by RAW’s Todd Grisham.
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the world premiere of The Marine at Camp Pendleton!” Grisham said. “Are you ready for the WWE Superstars? Let’s get this party started guys – keep that energy up!”
Ric Flair and Maria arrived first. While the beautiful Diva blew kisses to her adoring fans, The Nature Boy addressed the crowd.
“Tonight, John Cena, the WWE Champion, has a great movie coming out called The Marine,” Flair said. “We’re thankful for all of you here. We’re honored. You guys are the greatest.”
Carlito, Candice, Coach and Bonito arrived next, and one apple-carrying cool guy shared his thoughts with the crowd.
“This place is definitely cool. The Marine is going to be cool. Carlito not being in The Marine – that’s not cool. Not even a cameo?! Come on!” he said.
Camp Pendleton’s base commander, Col. Seaton, walked the red carpet, too, and received many cheers.
When Triple H arrived, carrying a life-size cutout of DX partner, Shawn Michaels, the crowd erupted in excitement with loud chants of “Triple H” and “DX.”
“Tonight is John Cena’s night. We’re here to celebrate him and we’re here to celebrate The Marine. And if you’re not down with that, I got two words for you…” Triple H said to the crowd, who screamed back, “SUCK IT!”
While WWE.com was talking to the lovely Candice, who was raving about the welcome reception she felt by the Marines, Cena and Carlson arrived and the crowd went wild. Mid-interview, the excited Diva couldn’t help but yell out, “All this noise is for John Cena. It’s great,” as she sneaked a peek down the red carpet to see Cena’s arrival.
“I am happy to be here with each and every one of you,” Cena, dressed in Marine fatigues, said to the WWE fans. “The Champ is right here, and well, I’m ready to get this thing started. Let’s go to the movies!”
After the Superstars and Divas spoke to other media outlets, the anxious crowd began filling the theater. Once everyone was seated with popcorn in hand, the Superstars were introduced to the crowd, and Triple H gave a DX salute, which was met by many cheers. Cena and Carlson also thanked the Marines, and the movie reels began spinning in a historic moment for WWE, WWE Films and Cena.
The crowd was pumped for The Marine. They laughed at the comedy, they oohed and ahhed over the plentiful explosion scenes, and they cheered for John Triton, Cena’s character in the movie. As the Marines and the Superstars filed out of the theater, no one could contain their excitement for the action-packed flick. They were still smiling and cheering on the way out.
“Tonight has been wonderful,” Cena said. “It really is heartwarming that the first time I saw The Marine on the big screen was with the United States Marine Corps.”
“WWE are the action stars of today. There’s no reason we can’t be the action stars of Hollywood,” Triple H said. He also took a moment to congratulate Cena on his big screen premiere. “Great movie!” he told the WWE Champion. Carlito agreed.
“I thought the movie was great,” Carlito said. “It was action-packed. It was fast-paced. I saw a side of John Cena I never had seen. Carlito was blown away.”
The movie’s director, John Bonito, was pleased to see the crowd react so favorably towards The Marine.
“We just got out of a packed theater at Camp Pendleton, and we saw it with the Marines for the first time on the big screen and it was crazy!” Bonito said. “They laughed everywhere they were supposed to, and they were loud when they were supposed to be. I think it really went well. I mean, you sweat things like this. And then you come here and you represent the Marines, and you’re on a Marine base, so you want everything to hit on all cylinders and it did. They loved it.”
Cena’s co-star, Kelly Carlson, was very impressed with the WWE fans and admitted it was the best red carpet movie premiere she’s ever attended.
“My experience with the WWE fans was incredible. I’ve never seen fans like that before. They’re super-loyal. They’re super-enthusiastic. They’re really fun and intense and screaming during the movie. It was really cool to be a part of it,” Carlson said. “This is the best movie premiere I’ve ever been to. The enthusiasm of the Marines and the crowd – We have really good premieres with Nip/Tuck, but these guys are passionate about being Marines. They’re really proud.”
The Marines’ reaction was just as positive as the movie’s stars and the WWE Superstars. About 50 Marines lined up to tell WWE’s cameras what a great time they had.
“I thought the explosions were really, really good. There were a whole lot of them. The more explosions in the movie, the better! And The Marine had plenty,” said Lance Corporal Hines. “It was great WWE had the premiere here. It gave me a little bit of confidence knowing WWE thinks we’re heroes. It’s great. I really appreciate them doing this for us.”
“I don’t think there could have been a better person than John Cena to play The Marine. He has a typical, All-American, patriotic, hardcore look. I thought it was great,” said Sgt. Banks.
“It was explosive, in one word,” said Lance Corporal Garcia. “John Cena did a really good job. Kelly Carlson really looked good. John Cena is the man! It was good of WWE to come and do all this for us. It means a lot to us.”
Cena also told WWE.com he wanted to make it clear that although now he’s on the big screen, he’s still first and foremost the WWE Champion in the ring.
“There are some inklings of the WWE genre in our movie and that’s to let the WWE fans know I’m not going to forget about them,” Cena said. “There’s a lot of talk about transition from sports entertainment to movies. I want to let the WWE fans know that as much as I loved this experience with The Marine, I will never leave that 20-by-20 box that I love so much. I want the WWE fans to know that if you see a chokeslam here or maybe a Triple H sledgehammer there, it’s just to let them know that remembers the fans.”
Since so many WWE fans and Marines came for the world premiere of The Marine, WWE held a second screening later that evening for a crowd of almost 500 more WWE fans. Cena was overjoyed with the reaction his movie received and offered one final message for the WWE fans reading on WWE.com:
“Go see this movie! Go see it 100 times! Then go buy it on DVD and watch it. Put it on your shelf for three months and then watch it again. It will change your life!
Read a diary of The Marine premiere festivities