Stephen M. Silverman
May 27, 2003 12:00 PM

Although the box-office figures for “The Matrix Reloaded” dropped significantly in its second weekend, the sci-fi thriller’s star, Keanu Reeves, said not even the SARS scare would stop him from promoting his movie in Asia.

“I had no fears at all,” Reeves, 38, told in Tokyo, during a press conference that also attracted costars Laurence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett Smith, Hugo Weaving and producer Joel Silver.

“The film has universal elements. It’s enjoyable and rich in terms of stories and I believe that there is something for everyone,” Reeves said of the film, which opens in Tokyo later this week.

Over the past few months, several high-profile rock groups, including the Rolling Stones, have postponed trips to Asia due to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) since the disease first surfaced three months ago.

In other news of SARS, the World Health Organization on Monday reinstated Toronto’s status as a place where the disease is spreading, but stopped short of restoring the travel advisory for visitors not to go there. That ban had been lifted two weeks ago, when it appeared that no new outbreak of SARS had occurred.

The United States Centers for Disease Control, however, issued a travel alert last week, and slammed the brakes on a proposed TV ad campaign that was to have been launched in upstate New York, hoping to lure visitors back to Toronto, The New York Times reports.

Over the weekend, at least eight new cases of SARS were announced by Ontario health authorities. Two of the patients have died, while others are in critical condition.

So far, Toronto has lost 27 people to SARS, the largest outbreak of the disease outside of Asia.

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