Blighty goes Batty

Dark Night begins o'seas crusade

LONDON — Katie Holmes arrived sans Tom Cruise June 12 for the European premiere of “Batman Begins” at Odeon, Leicester Square; allowing the spotlight to finally shine elsewhere — on the pic’s U.K. cast and crew.

Homegrown helmer Christopher Nolan drew rapturous applause when he spoke proudly of a film “made in England … that only U.K. technicians could have made.” Primary cast is predominantly British, and the lion’s share of the shoot took place in the U.K. last summer.

The bullish words of support were just what assembled U.K. industryites wanted to hear, with rumors circulating that both the “Harry Potter” and “James Bond” franchises may defect from their traditional U.K. production base to Eastern Europe due to uncertainties over U.K. tax incentives.

The only danger of Christian Bale and company being upstaged on their big night came in the form of that other Batman, Val Kilmer, in town treading the boards in the London production of “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” But Kilmer kept an appropriately low profile and spoke of his relief at no longer being the Caped Crusader.

The after-party took place at the suitably gothic Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.

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