Nothing 'Wimpy' about movie screening at Indianapolis' Pagoda Plaza

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Pagoda Plaza at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was transformed into an outdoor cinema Friday night for the first screening of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” The fourth and most recent installment of the popular “Wimpy Kid” film franchise based on the children’s books of the same name, it’s the story about a family road trip gone wrong.

Fans of the family-friendly franchise came out in force for the event. Many proudly wore “Wimpy Kid” t-shirts and clutched copies of the books on which the films are based. Pre-movie entertainment included face-painting, tile-painting and bludgeoning others with balloon mallets fashioned by a balloon artist.

DJ Kurt Streblow provided the soundtrack to this pre-screening revelry – though his musical selections were occasionally drowned out by boy band Forever in Your Mind rehearsing for its performance of the national anthem (complete with jet flyovers) prior to today’s INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Jason DruckerOf course, no movie screening would be complete without a red carpet, and this one was no exception. Actor Jason Drucker (left), who plays “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley, walked the carpet. So did Alicia Silverstone (and her son Bear) and Tom Everett Scott (and son Finn), who play Drucker's parents in the film.

Rounding out the group were director David Bowers (and daughter Sophia) as well as Jeff Kinney, who conceived and wrote the book series. Silverstone and Kinney are also scheduled to wave the green flag for today’s race (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter and Juan Pablo Montoya also brought their families.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a natural fit for the screening.

“In the movie, the destination is Indiana,” Scott said.

And, explained Bowers, “The movie’s called ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.’ So many families make the long haul across country to come to the Indianapolis 500. We thought it would be great to have a family event here where so many families have made road trips themselves.”

Doug Boles, president of IMS, couldn’t have agreed more.

“It’s a perfect fit and a great honor for us to host this event featuring the stars from such a popular movie and book series,” Boles said. The screening, he added, “further enhances the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend as one of the best family-oriented events of the year in Indianapolis.”

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” is slated for national release on May 19.

From the fans