SCI-FI SUMMER SET FOR ’97

Fans of science fiction movies ought to start saving their money now, because they’re going to be attending a lot of movies in the summer of 1997, which is shaping up to be a clash of big-budget sci-fi fare.

TriStar is in negotiations to bring the director-producer team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin aboard its “Godzilla” project in hopes of releasing the giant dinosaur in ’97. The film joins a potential roster of fare that includes the sequel to “Jurassic Park,” the Chris Columbus-directed “Planet of the Apes” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Sagan’s “Contact” with Robert Zemeckis directing and Jodie Foster starring, the Paul Verhoeven-directed “Starship Troopers,” Columbia’s futuristic “Men in Black” with Barry Sonnenfeld directing and Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith starring, the Luc Besson-directed Bruce Willis starrer “The Fifth Element,” and possibly James Cameron’s next film, “Titanic.”

Mind you, some of the films are still fighting over budgets and casts, and won’t be ready for that slot. But that’s a lot of big-budget fare shooting for the same limited bucks. If TriStar is successful at making the “Godzilla” deal for Emmerich and Devlin, the studio will get the team behind this summer’s big sci-fi hopeful for Fox, “Independence Day,” who also helped revive the sci-fi genre with the surprise success of “Stargate.”

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