‘Exit’ enter genre

Is that a trailer? Where's the sound?

HOLLYWOOD – The March 13 preem of Warners “Exit Wounds” took some attendees by surprise. The Steven Seagal starrer was preceded by a trailer for “Swordfish,” a highly unusual occurrence that appeared to catch offguard WB brass all the way up to studio topper Alan Horn.

Word circulated that studio bigwigs were angry, but the film’s producer Joel Silver said any bad feelings were temporary. Silver, who also produced “Swordfish,” used the trailer that will be seen in “Exit Wounds” theatrical runs because he wanted to see if it would get people to take their seats.

The idea cropped up after the pic’s earlier Gotham premiere got a late start because of all the glad-handing. “There was a misunderstanding that was only a problem until it was explained to the executives,” said Silver, who admitted he’d never seen a trailer run during a premiere before. “But the trailer worked like a charm. Maybe more people should do it.” Silver said that once WB brass saw why he did it and how effective it was, all was forgiven.

Wednesday’s “Exit Wounds” preem also became an audience participation event when the sound in the Mann Westwood over-flow theater went dead.

It was a tribute to the depth of the audience’s action genre schooling that they could instantly contribute seemingly realistic dialogue for the muted Steven Seagal pic. However, the high-point came when co-star Bill Duke appeared onscreen and someone (recalling his role in a mid-1970s Richard Pryor musical) began singing: “At the car wash, whoa whoa whoaaaa … .”

Finally the film was stopped, repairs made and the sound-restored pic played to the end before guests left for the Factory after-party.

It was there that producer Joel Silver said, “We’d started this kind of hip-hop, funk genre with ‘Romeo Must Die,’ and it’s really cool because it gives these urban movies with an interesting hip-hop quality great martial arts action. And by having DMX we have the ultimate hip-hop credibility. Because he’s in the movie, the audience knows it’s authentic.”

WB’s Lorenzo di Bonaventura said, “We unveiled a major star in DMX, and Joel created the best vehicle Steven Seagal has had in a long time.”

Among those on hand for the unveiling were WB’s Alan Horn, Barry Meyer, Brad Ball and Jeff Robinov; director Andrzej Bartkowiak; stars Seagal, DMX and Isaiah Washington; plus guests Sylvester Stallone, Jason Barrett, Taye Diggs, Michael Clark Duncan, Chris Fenton, Richard Genow, Renny Harlin, Magic Johnson, Karyn Silver and Gabrielle Union.

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