‘War’ wages world tour

Spielberg's summer tentpole seeks out o'seas auds

Hollywood’s going to be last in line when it comes to Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds.”

The director, together with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, has been jetting around the world for a series of premieres, which started Monday night in Tokyo. Paramount and DreamWorks are staging five additional premieres for the pic, going to Berlin tonight; Marseilles, France, on Friday; London on Sunday; followed by Madrid on June 21; and finishing June 23 at the Ziegfeld in New York.

Los Angeles won’t have a premiere, only a June 27 media screening.

“This really is a whirlwind promotion tour for an extraordinary film,” said Par motion picture group vice chair Rob Friedman from Tokyo.

Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy said Los Angeles got left out of the premiere list due to the director’s tight travel requirements, which have been set to allow Spielberg to start working on his next project about the Munich Olympics killings, with filming starting that week on Malta. For his part, Cruise is due to begin working almost immediately on “Mission: Impossible 3” for Paramount.

The heavy international push for “War of the Worlds” also reflects the growing import of the foreign box office for tentpole films such as “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Troy” and “Ocean’s Twelve.” In the case of Cruise’s “The Last Samurai,” more than three-quarters of the $456 million worldwide box office came from offshore theaters.

The Japanese premiere had been the subject of massive coverage, triggered by the June 4 announcement that UIP had canceled the planned gala screening of “War of the Worlds” at Tokyo’s Budokan arena due to “safety concerns.”

Later the same day, local UIP topper Paul Takaki announced the bash had not been canceled, but would instead move to the upscale and ultra-modern Virgin Roppongi plex.

(Patrick Frater contributed to this report.)

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