Pic preem highlights nightlife

HOLLYWOOD — At the Grauman’s Chinese Theater “Blade II” preem, New Line production prexy Toby Emmerich saw the wholesome upside of the distrib’s blood-soaked tale of a samurai sword-wielding, silver-bullet-shooting vampire slayer.

“As a company we’re trying to get into the family film business,” he quipped, “and this opens that door in a big way.”

The pic’s $32.5 million opening B.O. gross certainly proved that sequels increasingly outdo originals for fans of any age.

Domestic marketing chief Russell Schwartz described the pic as ” ‘Nosferatu meets ‘The Matrix.’ ” Co-star Luke Goss contends the film’s “up-close and personal” fight scenes make it “the vampire ‘Raging Bull.’ “

Topliner Wesley Snipes allowed that playing a half-human, half-vampire assassin “isn’t going to lend itself to a great deal of emotional depth,” but he likes to think “there’s some acting involved in creating the character and making him believable and palatable.”

Among those with a palate for vampire blood on March 21 were New Line’s Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne and Rolf Mittweg; director Guillermo del Toro; exec producer Lynn Harris; stars Kris Kristofferson, Leonor Varela and Ron Perlman; plus guests Helena Christensen, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, John Singleton, Nicole Clemens and Carl Lewis.

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