AFI, City of Hope, Call of Duty Spread the Red Carpet Thin

Just a few of the partygoers: Anne Hathaway, Jamie Lee Curtis, Neil Portnow, Michael Bay, Jake Gyllenhaal, Molly Sims, Matthew Morrison, Glee, James Franco, Danny Boyle, Jeff Bridges …

With only a few weeks before the holiday crunch, Thursday night was one of the busiest non-award show “event” nights of the year.

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal headlined the AFI Fest Opening Night Gala with “Love and Other Drugs” at Grauman’s. Matthew Morrison and Molly Sims also strolled the carpet.

Over in Century City, Brits and non-Brits alike were at BAFTA LA’s Brittania Awards. Jeff Bridges, Rosario Dawson, Carey Mulligan, Dakota Fanning, Morrison’s co-star Jane Lynch, Olivia Wilde and many more broke out the black tie on a weeknight. After the long carpet, 150 of the top VIPs snuck upstairs to the inner sanctum of the Bombay Sapphire reception, a pre-event add-on that sprung back to life again after the show. 

Inside, Michael Sheen and Kevin Spacey (pictured left) caught up, while Harvey Weinstein moved-and-shaked with Marion Cotillard (pictured below right) before he hit Soho House later in the night.

Meanwhile, City of Hope had music industry big-wigs heading in to the hills to “listen to the music” at “Songs of Hope VI," a posh fundraiser in the backyard of the Esquire House with intimate sets by Kenny Loggins and the Doobie Brothers themselves.

Universal Music Publishing Group CEO David Renzer (the creative force behind the night) told TheWrap that two of his senior staff were treated at City of Hope. Emcee Kevin Pollack said “my father passed away riddled with the cancer, so anything I can do to help City of Hope, I will.”

On a lighter note, Pollack talked up 2011’s competitive bird watching movie “The Big Year” and his slot in the ensemble cast. (Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Rashida Jones, Joel McHale, Anjelica Huston are all in the film.) “I had to run in to (co-star) Jack Black at the airport for us to talk shop at the movie. We hadn’t gotten a chance to work together,” Pollack told TheWrap.

2010 breakout singer K’Naan warmed up the crowd with his global anthem for this past summer’s world cup, “Wavin Flag." Inside Esquire’s “Ultimate Bachelor Pad," guests could bid on musical rarities like Michael Jackson’s handwritten lyrics to “Thriller” or movie oddities – a walk-on role in Jamie Foxx’s movie “Skank Robbers." Academy President Neil Portnow and Michael Bay were also in the mix.

Nine miles to the south, a louder performance was underway at the Santa Monica Airport: Metallica. When a teaser trailer for Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” appeared during Game 7 of the NBA Finals last June, the ad itself ignited a Twitter spike even during the competitive Lakers-Celtics death match. Five months later, Metallica headlined a mega premiere party in anticipation of the game’s debut on Tuesday. Occasional rocker Taylor Momsen, Jimmy Kimmel, Zach Braff, and lots of young Hollywood were inside Hangar 8. Kobe Bryant arrived via helicopter.

As the popular franchise centers on a foot soldier, the Bay Area metal kingpins performed to honor the U.S. Armed Services and help raise $1 million for the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit founded by the game publisher that helps soldiers transition to civilian life. For creative cross-over, one of the band’s most iconic songs is “One," a dark story of a post-battlefield soldier.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Verizon threw a party for the HTC Incredible phone at Voyeur, and an early soiree at Fred Segal Melrose saw nail polish debuts from Teri Hatcher and the Duff sisters amongst others.

James Franco, director Danny Boyle and the team from Fox Searchlight’s “127 Hours” went coast to coast to coast in just 27 hours for premieres in NYC on Tuesday and the AMPAS theatre in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. Boyle told TheWRAP that after a play in December, he’s plunging in to his role as the artistic director for the London Olympics Opening Ceremony “full time until July 27, 2012.” “It’s a one off. I’ve never done anything like it. It’s scary. Don’t mention the 4 billion people (watching),” Boyle said last week.


A few nights earlier at Santa Monica airport, it was a very un-Metallica crowd at the  annual “Dream Halloween” that benefits the Children Affected by Aids Foundation. Cheerleader Jamie Lee Curtis (above) hosted the Saturday afternoon event. Doris Roberts, Busy Phillips, Brooke Burke, Alison Sweeney and their offspring helped the organization raise over $1 million with campaigns in L.A., NYC, and Chicago. Just in time for the shotgun start to the holiday shopping season, Mattel and Toys “R” US sponsored the 17th annual event.

When Justin Timberlake uttered“The Social Network” sound bite “You know what’s cool…a billion dollars," he was probably channeling Sir Richard Branson’s (at right in British undies) Hallo-weekend on Necker Island.

Branson recruited big names in fashion to his private Caribbean island for a Halloween party to raise awareness for his Virgin Unite Fight Against Fistula, a birthing complication that can be fixed with a relatively inexpensive surgery.  Miranda Kerr, Adriana Lima, and Brooklyn Decker are part of the campaign, but mega-producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold arrived in person to spin the tunes. For those thinking ahead to Christmas vacation, the island can be rented for $53,000 a night. At left, the host in boxers is also offering to send civilians in to space.

The next night, Maroon 5 hosted the hot ticket for young Hollywood. Adam Levine and his crew threw a Halloween party at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, striking a thematic partnership with Bacardi (whose logo is a “bat” ).