Weinstein jokes about pic's travails as Scorsese joins U2

NEW YORK — Monday’s Gotham preem for “Gangs of New York” proved Miramax knows how to throw a party. And this one was a generation in the making.

The star-filled soiree, held in the palatial antechamber of the New York Public Library, marked the fruition of one of Hollywood’s most obsessively followed film projects.

Reveling in the night (which coincided with the arrival on newsstands of an assaultive New Yorker profile), Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein was able to joke about the pic’s travails.

“We didn’t want to tell anybody, but we actually finished the picture in six weeks, and came in $50 million under budget,” he quipped. “We all just went to live on an island for a few months and wondered what we were going to do with the rest of the money.”

Miramax certainly spared no expense on the bash. On hand for musical entertainment were U2 front men Bono and the Edge, who performed a live rendition of a song from the soundtrack.

“I’d like to announce that Martin Scorsese is going to join the band,” joked Bono after an effusive introduction from the helmer. “It’s going to be our new direction.”

Crowd reaction to the pic was largely positive.

“I thought it was fantastic,” said “Saturday Night Live” funnyman Jimmy Fallon. “It was pretty violent, but that was part of the story.”

Scorsese himself was mobbed for the duration of the event with similarly effusive sentiments.

The party got off to a late start at about 10:45 p.m., as the overbooked screening crowd at the Ziegfeld Theater (and an overflow showing at the Paris on 58th Street) flooded in after the 2 hour 38 minute pic. But attendees were more than happy to come in out of the frigid Gotham winter night.

The “Gangs” cast was well represented. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis (sporting a freshly shaven dome) turned out, as did co-star Cameron Diaz in ruffled black pants and a lavender fedora.

Also moving through the crowd were Nicole Kidman, Tim Robbins model Naomi Campbell and songwriter Robbie Robertson, among others.

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