Certainly the dominant special effect at Tuesday’s “End of Days” preem after-party was having star Arnold Schwarzenegger holding court at a table near the 14-piece band playing in the massive tent erected 100 yards from the Chinese Theater.
The Schwarzeneggerian genre of action pic has long been called “flying-glass movies.” In this outing — with Satan, a pope whose diction echoes Don Corleone in “The Godfather,” and landmark Manhattan churches providing crucial elements — Schwarzenegger seemed happy to have made the first “flying-stained-glass movie.”
“It’s like ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ or ‘The Exorcist,’ ” said the star, “but at the same time it’s an E ticket roller-coaster ride, great special effects and huge spectacle of action.”
Seated nearby was co-star Kevin Pollak who drolly noted that “when you see God’s glass fly, you know Arnold has more problems than some Replicant.”
And though there were guests who wondered how the Catholic Church, which is less than joyful with “Dogma,” will react to a film that combines sex and violence with the pope and cardinals, director Peter Hyams said: “They’ll be thrilled. This is as pro-religious movie as you can make. This is about somebody finding faith. This is about the biggest action star of the past 20 years putting the gun down and saying the only thing that works is faith.”
Among the faithful thrilled by the film were U’s Ron Meyer, Kevin Misher and Rick Finkelstein; Beacon’s Armyan Bernstein, Marc Abraham and Kevin O’Donnell; co-stars Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney and Rod Steiger; special effects wizard Stan Winston; plus 2,000 guests including Maria Shriver, Billy Crystal, Chevy Chase, Joe Roth, Tom Sherak, Art Linson, Neal Moritz, James Cameron, Ivan Reitman, David Foster, Al Ruddy and Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet chairman Georges-Henri Meylan, who presented Schwarzenegger with a $300,000 check for the Inner City Games before the pic rolled.