Melco Crown Entertainment’s co-chairman and chief executive officer Lawrence Ho and co-chairman James Packer pose with film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, director Martin Scorsese and producer Brett Ratner at the Studio City Casino launch in Macau. Photo: AP
James Packer and his girlfriend, Mariah Carey, finally appeared on the red carpet together on Tuesday night.
But a frustrated Packer endured a half-hour delay on Macau’s Cotai Strip as the grand entrance to Melco Crown’s $4 billion Studio City casino became swamped with a mixture of VIPs, high roller gamblers and a few dozen guests who used the red carpet to check in – suitcases in tow.
Packer finally appeared in a loose-fitting tuxedo while Mariah wore a plunging black gown as the two posed for photos.
The casino magnate then doubled round to join RatPack partner Brett Ratner along with new Hollywood pals Martin Scorsese, Leo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, who appeared in the $US70 million ($97 million) short film The Audition – jointly paid for by Packer and Melco chief Lawrence Ho to build an opening-night buzz.
Earlier the five had fronted a news conference and endured some inane questions from the MC.
De Niro, sporting an unusual khaki cap, appeared less than enthused about being on stage drifting off script and posing an open question about why he had never known about Macau’s 16th-century Portuguese past.
Leo was beaming, cracking jokes and generally up for a party.
The Audition, a 15-minute ad, or innovative piece of social media, depending on your view, finally received its Macau premiere shortly after. Brad Pitt, unavailable for the red carpet, proved the film’s highlight with a brief cameo.
Mariah later performed four songs for the opening-night crowd with an enraptured Packer in the front row.
Several songs were dedicated to Ratner, a close friend of Mariah who directed several of her music videos.
atching from Crown’s corporate box were chairman Rob Rankin, chief executive Rowen Craigie, strategy boss Todd Nisbet and non executive director Helen Coonan.
A six-course dinner followed with Packer, De Niro, Scorsese and DiCaprio, surrounded by three security detail, at the head table.
After posing for selfies with VIP guests, De Niro then spent a half hour locked in chat with Rankin. De Niro’s wife, Grace Hightower, mingled with guests including an unruly Australian media contingent.
Mariah returned for one last song: “Hero”, although this time there was no dedication to her beau.
By midnight the dinner was done. Leo led the charge to Pacha, where true to form he banked a booth filled with magnums of champagne and as the night wore on a dozen women surrounded him.
Packer smooched with Mariah in a cordoned-off area nearby under the watchful eyes of Ratner, Craigie and Nisbet.
By 3am, Leo had moved back into a barricaded VIP area. His only appearance on the dancefloor came when he was escorted to the toilet by three security guards.