Pass the popcorn

Tribeca fest opting for action pix

NEW YORK — The Tribeca Film Festival is shifting gears.

After announcing a list of arty pics from indie auteurs, the fest — co-founded by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro — is now loading up on high-profile tentpoles.

The move to include “Mission: Impossible III” and “Poseidon” effectively ups the commercial ante for a festival born out of the ashes of 9/11.

But it might also end up putting Tribeca’s regular auds through some wrenching emotional gyrations — from viewing real-life tragedy onscreen to watching manufactured disaster and derring-do.

Paramount Pictures’ “Mission: Impossible III” will have its domestic preem at the fest May 3, anchoring an entire day of promo events pumping up the franchise pic as part of “Mission: NYC.”

The news comes after Tribeca already tapped Warner Bros.’ “Poseidon” to unspool May 6.

The festival will open with Universal’s “United 93.”

This latest commercial tilt by Tribeca founders could be construed as a savvy move by fest founders to grab hot Hollywood titles that might otherwise have gone to the Cannes Film Festival, which unspools three weeks later. “Mission: Impossible III” is released Stateside May 5 and “Poseidon” hits theaters May 12.

The moves also reflect fact that De Niro and Rosenthal, while Gotham-based, are Hollywood power players who can use clout to get pics that other fest programmers can’t, or that don’t fit a more indie profile.

They’re also a gamble by Hollywood that Gotham fest auds will prove hospitable to high-octane action tentpoles that normally would score in middle America.

For their part, the Par and Warner folks now have a Gotham festival — that has a high profile with consumers — ready-to-hand to help promote these two expensive pics.

As part of “Mission’s” Tribeca date, the pic’s marketers have arranged for an afternoon appearance on MTV’s “TRL” by star Tom Cruise prior to the Tribeca fest preem.

Tribeca brass said the star then will travel by “motorcycle, speedboat, taxi, helicopter, sports car and subway” over six hours as he makes his way to other “Mission” screenings around Manhattan before the fest’s official fest preem at the Ziegfeld Theater.

Tribeca fest runs April 25-May 7.

“Having the support of Tom Cruise and Paramount is a gift to us and the community,” Rosenthal said.

Newest “Mission” was helmed by J.J. Abrams, with Cruise returning to the role of globe-trotting secret agent Ethan Hunt.

“Mission” was produced by Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner, and penned by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Abrams.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q and Laurence Fishburne also star.