‘X2’ marks the spot

Mutants bow in L.A., London

“X2” preem frenzy kicked off April 24 in London with a glitzy West End bow. More than 3,000 fans packed Leicester Square for a peek at their favorite mutants at the world preem for the “X-Men” sequel.

Pic stars Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Brian Cox, Patrick Stewart, Alan Cumming, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin and Kelly Hu all attended, with Halle Berry the only notable absentee.

The London bow was followed by a two-tier party: Cast members and A-listers including Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver went to swanky new venue Sketch for a lavish $750,000 bash, with the rest shepherded to the St Martins Lane hotel for a downscale soiree. Bandmates from pop outfit “Liberty X” were among those aggrieved at not gaining entry to Sketch.

“X2: X-Men United,” which opens wide in Blighty today and Stateside Friday, got its American debut four days later. Hollywood Boulevard was shut down to handle the crowds at the Chinese theater Monday night.

Stan Lee, who has been in heavy preem rotation lately due to all the Marvel comicbook adaptations hitting screens, was among the throngs making the sign of the X at the Hollywood bow. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner had her own explanation for the comic flurry: “The reason you’re seeing a lot of comicbooks made into films is you can have action without people getting sliced and diced,” she said.

Fox Production prexy Hutch Parker stressed the care that went into the sequel, which bows in more than 60 countries between Wednesday and Friday. “We were determined to avoid what sequels fall prey to — a cynical assumption that an audience is there simply because you make a second one,” he said.

Cast and crew continued their revelry at a dinner following the Hollywood preem, with hardy partiers making their way to helmer Bryan Singer‘s home in the hills later in the evening.

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