Renee Zellweger, Courteney Cox

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Are premieres strictly invite-only, or can any celeb walk the red carpet? I have this vision of Heidi and Spencer getting turned away.

You mean what drove Courteney Cox to don her finest stringy denim jeans and pose next to a ballgown-clad Renée Zellweger at the Appaloosa premiere last month? Zellweger, we know, is in the movie. Plays the piano and everything. Cox? Not in the movie.

Marg Helgenberger also graced the premiere. She wasn't in the movie, either. But at least she wore a skirt.

Publicists for Helgenberger and Cox didn't return requests for comment, but really, we don't need them. I've learned almost any celebrity of the "C" caliber or higher can attend any film premiere he or she wishes, with or without an invitation.

Where would that put Heidi and Spencer, if they decided to crash a premiere that was not their own? Well...

"I would certainly let them walk the carpet if they showed up!" says Ava DuVernay, whose firm, DVA PR, has organized many a premiere, including Dreamgirls. "The press loves them, and I am there to get press for the movie."

So how do celebrities find out about these premieres in the first place?

"Usually the film publicist will do a blast and reach out to the publicity community and ask them to submit names of talent who are in town and who might be a good fit to attend the premiere," DuVernay explains. "Names are submitted, and from there, the filmmakers and studio decide who will get an invitation extended to them."

The goal: filling up the roster with enough celebrity attendees to get the press to show up.

Rarely, a low-level "celebrity" will appear at a premiere unbidden.

"Usually it's someone of the level of Phoebe Price, or the random model or video girl," DuVernay says. "Then it's up to the organizers to decide whether to let them walk the carpet, and whether we can get them a seat."

Hey, they can always sit on Courteney's lap.

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