Celebratory In the Heights premiere kicks off 2021 Tribeca Festival

·2-min read

Lin-Manuel Miranda helped to usher in the start of a new era on Wednesday as he launched the 2021 Tribeca Festival with the world premiere of In the Heights.

The movie of Miranda's musical, which had its release delayed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, made its long-awaited debut at the United Palace theatre in Washington Heights, the New York neighbourhood where the story is based, to kick off the annual Tribeca gathering - the first major film festival in North America to host in-person screenings.

Vaccinated members of the public were able to watch the film without having to wear a mask, and they expressed their joy by breaking out into applause numerous times throughout the premiere, including at the very beginning as the opening titles rolled.

In the Heights star Anthony Ramos was among those overjoyed to be in attendance, jumping to his feet and pumping his fist, according to Deadline.com.

Prior to the screening, festival co-founder Robert De Niro told the crowd, "Before Covid, the simple act of going out to a movie theatre was something that you would take for granted. Now, we remember that it's a special event."

"It's beyond exciting and maybe a little overwhelming to be here together with this many people in the flesh, not on a screen...," added Warner Bros. boss Toby Emmerich. "If ever the world, if ever New York was ready for a block party, it is now."

And In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda admitted he was beaming with pride to be celebrating the film's global premiere in his native neighbourhood, at a theatre he helped to restore back in 2013, "before I had any money".

"This is not a dream come true," he added. "This is seven dreams come true at the same time."

In the Heights, directed by Jon M. Chu, opened in theatres and launched on streaming service HBO Max on Thursday.