The most hyped movie release of the year came to Cannes today with the European premiere of The Matrix Reloaded.
Keanu Reeves and co stepped out to a rapturous reception from the thousands of fans who had lined the Croisette.
It may not be an official competition, but the movie is undoubtedly one of the film festival’s biggest draws.
At the gala screening, Reeves was joined by fellow cast members Laurence Fishburne, Monica Bellucci, Jada Pinkett-Smith and a pregnant Carrie-Anne Moss.
Reeves wore a tuxedo for the occasion while Bellucci provided the glamour in a slinky purple corset dress.
Also there were twins Neil and Adrian Rayment, the film’s most unlikely stars.
They are familiar to British TV viewers as the handymen from DIY show Better Homes with Carol Vorderman.
But they also happen to be black belts in karate and were whisked away from the small screen to join the Matrix cast after producers spotted their potential.
All the stars had to undergo intensive martial arts training for the movie’s fight scene.
Fishburne said: “The Rayment boys came in and their martial arts skills really were wonderful.”
Tonight’s Matrix party is one of the hottest tickets of the festival, with a lavish £2 million bash laid on for the stars.
Construction workers have spent two weeks building a giant waterfront venue where state-of-the-art computer games will give party goers a simulated taste of life inside the Matrix.
The £84 million movie promises even more groundbreaking special effects and spectacular fight scenes than the 1999 original.
It opened in the US yesterday to less than rave reviews from the critics but still looks set to become one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters.
The film premieres in Britain next week but the Matrix hype will not stop there – the third film in the trilogy, Revolution, is released in just six months’ time.
It was filmed back-to-back with The Matrix Reloaded and producer Joel Silver promised it would be the best yet.
“There is a scene in Revolution that is just staggering – it will be the most complex scene ever put on film. The next movie really will be remarkable,” he said.
And Silver also said Revolution would be the last Matrix film: “The story will end in that movie and will answer many, many questions. Fans will find all the answers they need.”