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Stone pic auds get fair warning

Par kicks off latest 9/11 drama

Having witnessed the rollout of Universal’s 9/11 pic “United 93,” Paramount is proceeding cautiously as it begins the launch of its own Sept. 11-inspired pic, “World Trade Center,” directed by Oliver Stone.

Pic doesn’t bow until Aug. 9, but Par is presenting about half an hour of footage from the pic tonight here . The “World Trade Center” trailer bows this weekend, attached to Sony’s “The Da Vinci Code.”

“World Trade Center” is in the second wave of 9/11-themed pics — along with Irwin Winkler’s “Home of the Brave” — following “United 93,” which caused a media frenzy when it was released last month.

Much of the attention was focused on that pic’s trailer, which a few exhibs pulled after auds complained that the footage — which showed events in the jet’s cabin during the Sept. 11 hijacking — was too disturbing.

To avoid such a scenario, Par spent a week screening the “World Trade Center” trailer for exhibs. In addition, theaters are posting warnings of when the trailer is running.

“We feel the trailer is for an emotional movie, and some people will have an emotional reaction,” Rob Moore, prexy of marketing, distribution and worldwide operations at Par, told Variety.

Given that “World Trade Center” focuses on the lives of two men as opposed to the actual terror of 9/11, Moore said he doubts the trailer will cause problems.

Stone’s movie stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena as John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno — two Port Authority police officers who were trapped in the ruins of the World Trade Center and were ultimately rescued.

The trailer is more moving than shocking, showing sepia-toned, early morning shots of New York on Sept. 11 and the decision for McLoughlin (Cage) and his men to embark on the rescue effort. The men’s personal lives are glimpsed through scenes with their wives. Only a few seconds’ worth of footage shows the World Trade Center’s actual destruction and the chaos that ensued.

Last Thursday, Stone flew to New York to screen 26 minutes of his film for members of the Port Authority and family members of those who perished.

Moore said that the reaction was positive and that the only big question from people in that audience — many of whom were cast as extras in the pic, but didn’t necessarily appear in the clip — was if they’d been cut from the film.

Tonight that footage will be shown along with the “World Trade Center” trailer as a presentation at Cannes, alongside a screening of Stone’s 1986 pic “Platoon.”

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