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Paramount Pays for "Trekkies"; CQN's "Planet"; Toback Pairs with Palm; "Pi" Still Solid; Sony Grabs

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire August 5, 1998 at 2:0AM

Pairs with Palm; "Pi" Still Solid; Sony Grabs "Innocence"
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Pairs with Palm; "Pi" Still Solid; Sony Grabs "Innocence"

Compiled by Eugene Hernandez



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Paramount Pays More Than A Million For "Trekkies" Doc

"Trekkies", a documentary film exploring the fanaticism surrounding
Star Trek, has been acquired by Paramount for $1.25 million. "I always
hoped that we'd find a home for it and be able to pay off our bills,"
filmmaker Roger Nygard told indieWIRE yesterday, "Were happy and
feel lucky that we are one of the few documentaries that has been sold."
The film, which debuted at the 1997 East Hampton Film Festival, also
screened at the AFI Los Angeles Festival and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
According to Nygard, Paramount bought all rights to the film and
plans to release it theatrically and on home video. Although,
Paramount's Robert Friedman told Variety that the acquisition will
not be handled through the company's new specialty division.


The film is Nygard's third movie, following a low-budget comedy,
"High Strung," which was written by and starred Steve Oedekerk,
and an HBO movie called "Back to Back." Following "Trekkies",
Nygard directed and co-wrote a film called "Suckers," which he is
currently screening for distributors and submitting to film festivals.
He is now about to begin post-production on his new documentary,
"Six Days in Roswell" , which captures the 50th anniversary of the
Roswell incident, which some believe was a UFO landing in New Mexico.


"I had never planned to get into documentary," Nygard explained,
"It ["Trekkies"] was Denise Crosby's idea -- the distinction between
the two [narrative and documentary] is almost just semantic for me
because they are both about telling stories." Crosby hosted and
co-executive produced the film, and was a cast member on the Paramount
Pictures television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
from 1987-8.


[For more information on "Trekkies", visit the film's website at:
www.trekdoc.com]

>> CQN Sets First Release: Laloux's "Fantastic Planet"

Rene Laloux 1973 film, "Fantastic Planet", will be re-released by
CQN Releasing this fall to mark the film's 25th Anniversary.
"Planet" will be the first release from CQN, the new distribution
arm of Cinequanon Pictures International. A company statement
confirmed last week that this will be the first theatrical exhibition
of the film, since its initial theatrical release. "Planet" won a
Special Jury Prize at the Cannes, making it the first animated movie
to be honored by the Festival. The re-release of "Fantastic Planet"
will be accompanied by a screening of "Les Escargots," a short film
by Laloux and "Fantastic" screenwriter Roland Topor.

>> Toback Tackling New Film For Palm

Chris' Blackwell's Palm Pictures confirmed yesterday that the company
will produce its first feature, "Black and White," a new film that will
be written and directed by James Toback ("Two Girls and A Guy"). The
film is set to begin production in New York City next month. Palm
Pictures is the entertainment company founded by Chris Blackwell.

>> Artisan's "Pi" Still Strong At Box Office

Darren Aronofsky's Artisan release, "Pi," added 28 screens this
weekend and increased its box-office gross by 70%, earning
$250,310, for a cumulative gross of $601,702 in three weeks,
according to Variety. The Hollywood trade reported that in its
fifth week, "Buffalo '66" from Lions Gate made $132,692 on 58
screens for a cume of $1,140,999, while "Smoke Signals" from
Miramax nabbed $423,951 on 143 screens for a total of $2,399,276.


Trimark's "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" dropped 29% in its
second weekend, earning $83,628 for a total of $260,457, while
Sony Pictures Classics new entry, "The Governess", captured
$57,700 in its opening weekend. Finally, Stratosphere's "The Thief"
made $40,180 in its second weekend, gaining 10% for a total of
$150,316.

>> Sony Classics Acquires New Figgis Film

The new Mike Figgis movie, "The Loss of Sexual Innocence," has
been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for American and British
distribution. Variety reported yesterday that the rights to the
movie were purchased for approximately $600,000. The movie
stars Julian Sands, Saffron Burrows ("Circle of Friends"),
and Jonathan Rhys Myers ("Velvet Goldmine"). According to
the Hollywood trade publication, the company hopes to premiere the
film at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.