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Turner pix sells o’seas distribs oncommitment

Turner Pictures Worldwide president Dennis Miller has launched the company’s full-court press at the American Film Market, assuring buyers that the company would forge long-term relationships with independent international distributors.

Turner Pictures is one of the more unusual suppliers in Santa Monica this year, primarily because it is backed by the sprawling Turner media empire.

Its splash into global theatrical distribution was announced at last year’s AFM by Ted Turner and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who directed “Christmas in Connecticut” for cabler Turner Network Television.

This year, Turner sports more substance and less hype at the AFM. Atop the list is the $ 35 million “The Pagemaster,” which Miller expects to become a worldwide moneymaker in 1994 and an “evergreen asset that can play video, television and TNT and TBS.”

The company’s bookish AFM office — decorated as a library to promote “The Pagemaster”– has become one of the market’s hottest stops for independent distributors.

Turner Pictures also has the Charles Bronson starrer “Sea Wolf, “”Frankenstein” and “Gettysburg” at AFM.

Miller was unconcerned that TriStar Pictures is preparing a competing 1994 version of “Frankenstein,” which features producer Francis Ford Coppola and director/star Kenneth Branagh.

“If it were coming out tomorrow, there would probably be some confusion,” Miller said, adding that Turner Pictures’ completed Patrick Bergin/Randy Quaid starrer is more closely “coattailing on the success” of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” from Coppola.

So what might Turner have at next year’s market? Miller said it is too soon to say, but remakes of the 3,000 MGM and pre-1950 Warner Bros. movies that Turner owns are all fair game.

For example, producer Paula Weinstein is readying a remake of the Robert Taylor starrer “Westward the Wind.” Miller said the sequel promises the feminist clout of “A League of Their Own” with the clean concept of a “macho leading man taking a group of women across the country.” Miller said the movie will either be distributed by TNT or theatrical release, depending on the screenplay.

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