"Cowboys & Aliens" premiered to a star-studded and fan-filled crowd at Comic-Con.
Stars Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Keith Carradine walked a red carpet flanked by fans who won a chance to sit in the adjacent bleachers. Director Jon Favreau and producers Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer also got cheers as they walked the carpet, bringing a taste of Hollywood to downtown San Diego Saturday night.
Favreau said he wanted to unveil his sci-fi Western at Comic-Con to thank conventioneers for their support of the films he introduced there in previous years, including his two "Iron Man" movies. He showed early footage from "Cowboys & Aliens" during a Comic-Con panel last year, whetting fans' appetites for the film, and he invited them to be a part of the premiere to "see what that part of the equation is like."
"They generally don't get to experience that part of it," he said. "That's more of a Hollywood thing."
Hundreds of fans lined up in front of the San Diego Civic Theatre to attend the premiere after winning tickets by following clues texted to their cell phones.
"This kind of overshadows Comic-Con," said 22-year-old Khalil Tiner of Las Vegas, a six-year veteran of the fan festival. "This is something new, and it's exciting."
Wendy Lee of Los Angeles and Chris Saguisag of San Francisco, both 44, said they enjoyed dashing around town trying to win tickets.
"We got a lot of cardio running after the bricks" that contained a chance to attend the premiere, Lee said. "It's something we worked for really hard."
Favreau said he wanted fans to feel the excitement of the film — and he also wanted their genuine feedback.
"Comic-Con is a special place. I owe a debt of gratitude to the fans here," he said. "Taking an opera hall and turning it into a movie theatre, it was a tremendous undertaking but it was a dream and I'm glad we did it. It makes it special. I'll never forget this night.
"All the people who won the golden ticket, welcome to the chocolate factory!" Favreau said before introducing the film.
Fans also had an unforgettable evening that began with the red carpet and ended with a post-movie outdoor party with snacks, drinks and celebrities.
"I'm from South Africa, and my friends said that when I came to America, I would see celebrities, but I didn't think that would happen," said Rickus Ferreira, 26, who won a ticket to attend the premiere. "Then I got to see everyone!"
"Cowboys & Aliens" is set in the 1800s and centers on a small Western town suddenly attacked by aliens. The film opens in theaters on Friday.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen can be reached at www.twitter.com/APSandy .