The “Hangover” movies are nearly as much a part of Caesars Palace as the Roman statues.
Still, that didn’t stop Todd Phillips, the franchise’s writer-director, from heading across Flamingo Road — and company lines — for a key sequence in “The Hangover Part III.”
For the scene, in which a coked-up Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) parachutes from the balcony of his Caesars penthouse, Phillips couldn’t resist having the Fountains of Bellagio shoot up to meet Jeong’s stunt doubles as they floated down.
“For the Bellagio to allow us to fly over and give me control of the fountains,” he told the Review-Journal shortly before the sequel was released in 2013, “that’s kind of a testament to the movie and the goodwill the movie’s brought.”
It’s certainly a testament to the allure of the fountains, one of Las Vegas’ most recognizable landmarks.
Long before she launched a nearby residency, Britney Spears set the stage for monumental performances on the Strip with a rendition of “I’m a Slave 4 U” atop Bellagio’s lake during the 2001 Billboard Music Awards. It doesn’t stick in the memory quite like the time, three months before, when she writhed onstage at MTV’s Video Music Awards with a 7-foot albino Burmese python named Banana. But the way she first used the fountains as backup dancers remains epic.
In 2017, the Billboard awards returned to the lake as Drake performed “Gyalchester” in front of the fountains. “That was the first time we ever did pyro on the water, and flames, which was an amazing show in itself,” says Loni Singer, the fountains’ lead engineer.
Local rockers Panic! At the Disco kicked off NBC’s coverage of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in June with a water-soaked performance of “High Hopes” on the lake. And in 2016, Pitbull, Robin Thicke, Blink-182’s Travis Barker and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry splashed around on a partially submerged stage in the music video for “Bad Man,” portions of which were used as promos for that year’s NBA playoffs coverage on TNT.
The biggest stage to hit the lake yet — an impressive 165 feet — was constructed for the multimillion-dollar, multimedia kabuki performance “Koi Tsukami (Fight With a Carp),” which incorporated high-tech digital projection on the fountains during five free 30-minute performances in 2015.
Bruno Mars, meanwhile made the lake his personal playground as he rode a Jet Ski around the fountains in 2016 for his “24K Magic” music video.
The lights in the Fountains of Bellagio turned pink in 2004 for an appearance there by Victoria’s Secret “Angels” Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio.
In one of the few times the fountains were overshadowed, Intel choreographed 250 illuminated Shooting Star drones to dance high above the water to the sounds of Kygo’s “Stargazing” during the January Consumer Electronics Show.
One of the fountains’ most memorable star turns remains one of its first: the scene at the end of 2001’s “Ocean’s Eleven” when Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and most of the titular crew silently marveled at the dancing water before disappearing into the night.
“You had people who watched the fountains more so than ever before” after the movie was released, said Paul Berry, who was director of hotel operations at the time.
Fifteen years later, Damon returned as the fountains served as the backdrop of a car chase in 2016’s “Jason Bourne,” during which the movie’s villain crashed a SWAT vehicle into traffic and launched a dozen or more cars into the air.
“I think it’s gonna turn out to be one of those iconic (stunts) with those cars flying right in front of the Bellagio,” Damon told the Review-Journal at the time. “I mean, literally, there’s that one tracking shot, and you just see the fountains going off in the back. And it was just, like, luck.
“And I couldn’t help but think of the end of ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ You know, we’re standing in that exact spot.”