Hollywood calls on military ties as it releases disaster-themed films

LOS ANGELES - During a week plagued with government-issued terrorism alerts, Hollywood was busy promoting a series of disaster-related films.

Paramount Pictures released its newest installment of the Tom Clancy series, 'The Sum of All Fears', two weeks ago. Following a growing trend among studios to position terrorist-themed flicks as patriotic rather than sensationalist, Paramount held the premiere in Washington, DC for an audience filled with politicians and political press. The location also served as a thanks to the Marine Corps, which supplied helicopters and other assistance to the production.

The film was first screened for the national press, with the main premiere attracting the secretaries of the Air Force and Navy, the Army Chief of Staff, and Jesse Jackson Jr among others.

Since September 11, studios have been reluctant to release terrorist-themed movies, due to uncertainty over audience appeal and the risk of seeming insensitive.

But blockbuster films put into production before the attacks are ready to hit screens, including Disney's 'Bad Company', and MGM's 'Windtalkers'.

Using DC or military connections is becoming a popular -- and safe -- route to promote these kinds of films and provides a high-profile yet sedate venue outside of Hollywood.

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