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Video & Photos: Altoona, PA Trades Its Name for $25K and a Morgan Spurlock Premiere

By Brian Brooks | Indiewire April 29, 2011 at 8:46AM

POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, PA -- It's not often that the dateline tells the story. But, as promised, Altoona, PA accepted $25,000 on April 27 from Morgan Spurlock in exchange for a 60-day lease on the city's name to promote the film (hereafter to be known as PWPTGMES).
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POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, PA -- It's not often that the dateline tells the story. But, as promised, Altoona, PA accepted $25,000 on April 27 from Morgan Spurlock in exchange for a 60-day lease on the city's name to promote the film (hereafter to be known as PWPTGMES).

Spurlock presented the oversized novelty check to officials on the steps of city hall in a ceremony that included a marching band, cheerleaders, as well as a smorgasbord of donuts and very sugary drinks provided by Pennsylvania convenience chain Sheetz, one of the many PWPTGMES sponsors.

Speaking to the crowd in his now-iconic PWPTGMES logo suit, Spurlock said, "Today, we celebrate all the things that make America great: Small towns, good people - but more importantly, corporate takeovers!"

Later, he added: "No matter what your price, someone, somewhere in the world will pay it."

While the crowd featured many fans, a handful of protesters registered their dismay -- not over the sale of the city's name, but because the money has been earmarked by city officials for the police budget.

The crowd in the city formerly known as Altoona also included about 75 people who flew in on a chartered Jet Blue (sponsor) flight from New York City. A Mini (sponsor) escort and Sheetz Hummer escorted the two busloads of Spurlock's entourage (including iW) to the proclamation ceremony.

Afterward, Sheetz hosted a lunch of made-to-order convenience-store sandwiches followed by guerilla signage planting in various parts of POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, PA.

Later that evening, the southwestern Pennsylvania city hosted the film's east coast premiere for about 1,000 guests -- a number equal to nearly 5% of the city's population.

Some images of the day and an interview with Spurlock follow, as well as the full version of his speech from PWTGMES' City Hall.

Morgan on the flight to Pennsylvania tells indieWIRE what's up for the day ahead - aka, "The Greatest Day Ever."

Morgan gives his speech on the steps of the city formerly known as Altoona, PA on corporate takeovers, Hollywood, advertising and $25,000

POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" producer Jeremy Chelnick gives his rundown to iW of the day's event's following the East Coast Premiere of "Greatest Movie" Wednesday evening.

[Check out indieWIRE's full interview with Morgan Spurlock]

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