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Warners declares ‘War’

Pic does battle against CBS skein and survives

HOLLYWOOD — Call it the premiere that survived “Survivor”: confidently ignoring the big finale of CBS’ ratings buster, Warner Bros. launched “The Art of War” Wednesday at the Chinese Theater.

“We already went up against the strongest competition a premiere can have,” said co-writer Simon Barry. “How tough can the opening weekend be?”

Probably as tough as Richard Hatch imagines himself. But to help the opening, exec producer Elie Samaha said he made sure “War” had some “Survivor” ad time. “How could we not? It’s too big to pass up.”

As for the film’s star, he’s been passing on the show. “I’m my own survivor,” Wesley Snipes said. “I’m just trying to survive this industry.”

Among those who recorded “Survivor” and made it to the preem and Sunset Room after-party were Warner Bros. execs Alan Horn, Barry Meyer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brad Ball; producer Nicolas Clermont; director Christian Duguay; co-star Marie Matiko; plus guests Karl Austen, Colin Callender, Suzanne de Passe, Billy Gibbons and Sinbad.

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