April 19, 2010 / 7:29 PM / 7 years ago

Volcanic ash hits "Iron Man 2" premiere, strands stars

LONDON (Reuters) - Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures announced on Monday it was moving the April 26 world premiere of action movie “Iron Man 2” to Los Angeles from London due to uncertainty caused by travel chaos in Europe.

And veteran rockers Status Quo were stranded in Moscow and planned to go by rail to Warsaw in neighboring Poland and then back to Britain on the tour bus, media reported.

Several music and movie events involving major acts were disrupted after European airspace was shut down by a volcanic ash cloud. Officials expected less than a third of flights to operate in Europe on Monday, the fifth day of disruption.

“We’ve enjoyed spending extra time in Moscow but, after all we’ve been through over the years, I never thought that our touring schedule would be threatened by a volcano,” Status Quo singer Francis Rossi was quoted as saying by the British media.

The band’s next commitment is in Scotland on May 1.

Interviews to promote “Iron Man 2”, the sequel to the hit 2008 film starring Robert Downey Jr. that earned $585 million in global ticket sales, were moved to Los Angeles, according to Paramount.

U.S. R&B singer Usher, expected in London later this week to promote his new album “Raymond v Raymond,” was forced to cancel while Miley Cyrus was unable to make it to the European premiere of “The Last Song” in London on Tuesday.

Irish dancer Michael Flatley also canceled a press conference in the city on the same day.

In California, several European bands were unable to make it to the three-day annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the desert over the weekend because of flight restrictions.

Bad Lieutenant, The Cribs, Frightened Rabbit, Delphic and Gary Numan were grounded in Europe, organizers of the indie music festival said. British band The Cribs even took a 16 hour car ride from the UK to Amsterdam in a failed bid to find a flight to southern California.

“I can’t tell you how disappointed we all are,” Gary Numan Tweeted on Sunday.

The Coachella festival drew about 75,000 fans for each of the three days and is one of the biggest music festivals in the United States.

London theaters were watching events closely, as around one ticket in every five sold in the West End goes to someone visiting from overseas, and the proportion rises significantly during the summer months.

“If it (the travel chaos) went on for a significant length of time, it would be a major worry, particularly as we move into the summer,” said a spokesman for the Society of London Theater.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Jill Serjeant

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