My Life in Ruins, produced by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s Playtone, is holding its world premiere in Athens two months before it launches in the US. It is thought to be the firsttime a Hollywood production backed by industry heavyweights has opened in Greece.

The $20m film, which stars Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), is co-produced by Nathalie Marciano’s and Michelle Chydzik’s 26 Films, and directed by Donald Petrie (Mystic Pizza, Miss Congeniality, Just My Luck). It was shot partly in Greece inlate 2007.

The international launch at the Athens Concert Hall has been set up by the Greek distributor Kostas Piperas of Hollywood Entertainment. The move is seen as a gesture to the host country and to Vardalos and Wilson, who are both of Green origin. The US launch by Fox Searchlight is set for June 5.

Greek authorities, eager to attract foreign shoots, cut down red tape to allow the production to shoot at venerated archaeological Greek sites including the Athens Acropolis, Olympia and Delphi. It is the first time that filming at such sites has been allowed.

Vardalos, who co-penned the script with Mike Reiss (The Simpsons Movie), stars as a tour guide leading a group of tourists through varioushistoric Greek sites. The cast includes Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss, Rita Wilson, Alistair McGowan, Ian Ogilvy, Rachel Dratch, Harland Williams, Caroline Goodall as well as the young Greek actor Alexis Georgoulis, whom Petrie has jokingly hailed as ‘the new George Clooney’.

It is hoped that the delay between the premiere and the film’s commercial launch across 100 screens on May 28 will help to build interest. The $1.2m marketing campaign includes extended screenings of the trailer, a two-month long print and TV campaign and previews to test reaction. It is double the normal spend in the local market.

Meanwhile, Vardalos told ScreenDaily that is she working on new projects being developed by Hanks and Wilson.