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The ‘Damage’ done

Schwarzenegger pic finally unspools post 9/11

The first of the action films held back after 9/11 had its bow Monday when the Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer “Collateral Damage” preemed at the Village.

Producer David Foster, said the “key was letting time go by and letting wounds heal. Now a lot of big pictures with action have opened, look at ‘Black Hawk Down.’ It’s no longer a curse against us.”

Director Andrew Davis said the wait “made the film more relevant. People now know what collateral damage means.”

For the past five months, Hollywood has been obsessed with avoiding anything that might be perceived as being in poor taste. This premiere put an end to that.

Pic has one scene in which a terrorist is executed by having a poisonous snake sent wiggling down his throat. (Feel free to imagine the audience’s audible groans.) Some bright light came up with the idea of presenting the radio station promo attendees with T-shirts tied so they resembled three-foot-long snakes with little, red forked tongues.

Bad media vibes in Gotham however, meant that a screening to benefit the Twin Towers Fund Tuesday at the Ziegfeld blanked out the press after some columnists accused Warners of using the fund to publicize pic.

“Our intentions in setting up this screening were completely misinterpreted,” a Warners spokeswoman said. “It was suggested that we were exploiting the 9/11 tragedy to promote the movie. In order not to perpetuate that perception, we chose to discourage press coverage of (the) screening.”

Among those dining at the Napa Valley Grill in Westwood were Warner’s Alan Horn, Dawn Taubin and Brad Ball; producer Steve Reuther; plus guests Armyan Bernstein, Dan Romanelli, Tim Allen, Steve Stabler, Brian Medavoy, Marq Roswell, Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington, Dick Cook, Andy Vajna, Christina Lahti, Rob Reiner and Salma Hayek.

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