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Fete for fang fans

'Underworld' preems at Cinerama Dome

HOLLYWOOD Genre fans had twice as much to sink their teeth into Jan. 11 with the Cinerama Dome premiere for “Underworld: Evolution.”

After Screen Gems’ 2003 vampires-vs.-werewolves smackdown tallied $100 million worldwide, a sequel seemed inevitable. And everyone was determined to up the ante.

“(Director) Len Wiseman said, ‘I want to do what ‘Terminator 2’ did for ‘T1,” said Gary Lucchesi, who produced the original and the followup with Tom Rosenberg.

So the sequel’s budget doubled from the original’s approximately $22 million, production moved from Budapest to Vancouver and the action expanded to include both the origins of the creatures’ feud and a showdown between generations.

Star Kate Beckinsale said genre work is more than just fangs and makeup. “I find these much harder. And there is that human element.”

With Screen Gems on a roll thanks to “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and Lionsgate co-prod “Hostel,” genre pics clearly have some bite at the box office.

Screen Gems honcho Clint Culpepper said the specialty division is positioned perfectly in the Sony hierarchy.

“We’re the gap filler, so there’s no expectation,” he said. “We don’t have to fill the summer and the holidays. We’re small fry.”

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