Season's first blockbuster blooms at U Amphitheatre

Every year, the industry’s first season is about awards, while the next centers on action movies. Universal kicked-off the second round with Monday’s “Van Helsing” premiere.

“It’s the first summer blockbuster,” said Dan Jinks. “In Hollywood, that’s the equivalent of the cherry blossoms blooming in Washington.”

The U Amphitheatre launch raised more than $200,000 for USC’s film school. Being a fundraiser, the guest list was unusually ecumenical: Lachlan Murdoch, Bob Daly and Carole Bayer Sager, Donald De Line, Chaka Khan and Joel Silver were among the crowd taking in the effects.

“I have no interest in being subtle,” writer-director-producer Stephen Sommers said. “I like loud and rambunctious.”

U’s Marc Shmuger laughed and called the pic “single-minded in its entertainment aspirations.”

Among those on hand were U’s Ron Meyer, Stacey Snider and Rick Finkelstein; plus guests Kathy Kennedy, Jim Wiatt, Bela Lugosi Jr., Tom Shadyac and USC’s Elizabeth Daley.

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