George Clooney, Matt Damon attend White House film screening

Actors Matt Damon and George Clooney attend "The Monuments Men" photocall at Hotel Le Bristol on Feb. 12, 2014, in Paris. Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

President Barack Obama hosted a private screening of "The Monuments Men" at the White House on Tuesday, with stars George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray in attendance.

Mr. Obama and the Hollywood actors were joined by Harry Ettlinger, a member of the real-life group that served as the film's inspiration.

Written and directed by Clooney, "The Monuments Men" tells the story of a World War II platoon -- made up of historians, artists and teachers -- tasked with rescuing cultural artifacts and works of art seized by the Nazis in Germany.

The White House says cultural heritage preservation is a vital foreign policy tool and helps strengthen bilateral relationships.

The film has underperformed at the box office, grossing $55.5 million worldwide against a $70 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo. Reviews have been tepid.

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