The North American premiere of Who framed Roger Rabbit was held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 21, 1988. A private preview of Who framed Roger Rabbit was given at the BAFTA theatre in Piccadilly on July 25. It was ‘by invitation only.’ The rest of the U.K. would have to wait until November 21 for the London premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square.
The premiere was a Royal Charity event in aid of the British Lung Foundation. The sponsor was Her Royal Highness Diana, The Princess of Wales. HRH Diana was the last one to enter the theatre – preceded by Bob Zemeckis, Steven Speilberg, Bob Hoskins, and Charles Fleischer. Diana wore a pink satin ballgown with a white shawl collar, a choker of pink pearls, and pink pearl earrings. Speilberg introduced her to a Roger Rabbit costume character. She shook Roger’s hand, but declined to give him a hug.
Several of the London crew members managed to make it to the premiere. Annie Elvin, head of Matte & Roto, was there with her son, Harry, who was a runner at The Forum.
Dave Spafford came back to London to visit friends and was at the premiere with Raul Garcia and several other London-based animators. Spaff talks about getting awful seats, but there was still an excitement due to Diana’s presence – and anticipation of joining the Disney elites upstairs for an after-gathering with Diana. The collection of animators were held back by Security, as were all the other theatre-goers, but Spaff thought that was just to allow Diana to leave safely and that they would be directed to the gathering after the crowd had cleared. After a while Spaff got a bit frustrated and went to Security to make a point. The Security person quietly directed them to a door and asked them to be patient and wait a bit longer. When they stepped through the door, they found themselves in the alley outside the theatre. They all went to the pub instead!