Hanks birthday, preem takes over Grand Central Station

Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg had more than movies on their mind at Tuesday’s Grand Central Station after-party for “Road to Perdition.”

Along with ushering in the DreamWorks pic, they celebrated star Tom Hanks’ 46th birthday. The pair led the crowd of several hundred in a round of “Happy Birthday” after giving the thesp a five-foot tall birthday cake.

“I’m glad you could all come out to see my new apartment,” joked Hanks, gazing up at the venue’s soaring ceilings. Blowing out the candles on his cake, he added, “I just wished for world peace!”

Cornered for yet another interview an hour later, the press-friendly Hanks told Daily Variety that he was surprised so many people were asking about the pic’s mid-summer release date. “What, are we going to write off the summer now? It’s insane. This isn’t Russia. If it’s a good movie, people will show up whether it’s July or October.”

The garrulous thesp noted that “Forrest Gump” had opened July 16 and that “Sleepless in Seattle” opened June 21.

Helmer Sam Mendes, who flew in for the night from London along with Kate Winslet, said, “If a movie works it stays around for weeks.”

The event, which began with a Ziegfeld Theater screening, was a benefit for the Intl. Rescue Committee. An L.A. screening and pre-party were skedded to be held Wednesday night at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Cast members including Paul Newman, Tyler Hoechlin, Stanley Tucci and Jude Law (with wife Sadie Frost) were on hand, as was CAA’s Richard Lovett, producers Richard and Dean Zanuck, and such Gotham figures as Nathan Lane, Bob Balaban, Nora Ephron, Nick Pilleggi and Vincent Pastore.

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