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Publishers board ‘Titanic’

Although it remains to be seen whether “Titanic” can be raised at the box office when it sails into theaters this month, publishers are jumping on board. With the release, helmer James Cameron’s profile has never been higher and has inspired at least one book about his role in Hollywood. Nancy Griffin, the journo who co-wrote “Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood,” has inked a deal with Simon & Schuster to pen a book about the man behind such films as “Terminator,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Aliens” and “True Lies.”

Griffin says the book will “not be a biography. It will not be all that David Copperfield crap, but a portrait of this unique filmmaker at this point in time in Hollywood and the state of the movie industry as we hurtle toward the millennium.”

Griffin, who recently wrote about Cameron in the December issue of Esquire magazine, says she is already immersed in the project and is scheduled to deliver the manuscript in early 1999. Cameron is said to be cooperating, although calls to his spokesman went unreturned.

While Simon & Schuster is a Viacom corporate sister to Paramount, which is releasing “Titanic” domestically, Griffin says no synergy existed other than a relationship with S&S editorial director Alice Mayhew dating to “Hit & Run.”

Meanwhile, HarperCollins — sibling of News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox, which financed the majority of the film and is releasing it internationally — is publishing “James Cameron’s Titanic” in conjunction with the film’s release Dec. 19. With a forward by Cameron, the book is a photo-intensive look at the cinematic re-creation of the ship and its moment in time.

Other tie-ins to the film include Random House’s “Titanic: The Official Story, April 14-15, 1912,” a collection of reproduced documents including more than 100 pages of correspondence, government certificates and contemporary records from London’s Public Record Office. Among the documents are the Titanic’s final telegrams; a front-page editorial in the New York Evening Journal the day after the Titanic sank; a passenger’s account of his escape from the sinking ship; and the 74-page final report of the British Commission of Enquiry into the loss of the Titanic.

Pages in preview

“Blood Stained Kings”

Tim Willocks (Random) Pub date: February

Willocks’ second novel, after “Green River Rising” in 1994, explores the southern stretch of landscape from New Orleans to the backwoods of Georgia, where a deranged former belle has imprisoned her husband on a decaying plantation for the last 13 years. The death of a mutual acquaintance forces her to cross paths with a dissipated physician with skeletons of his own. Together, they scramble to find the files of their dead friend — a cop who kept dirt on everyone he knew. “Kings’ ” publication will coincide with the release of the feature “Swept From the Sea,” which Willocks scripted.

Rights: available

“Movies and Money: The Undeclared War Between Europe and America”

David Puttnam (Knopf) Pub date: March

Ten years after his departure from the president’s office at Columbia Pictures, Puttnam writes of an unprecedented collision between art and commerce, and of the war that erupted between Europe and America when movies exploded into a high-stakes business. Book promises to describe how film became one of the most powerful economic and cultural forces of all time, how America plundered the European market to gain control of it, and how America’s victory has affected the hearts, minds and imaginations of audiences around the world.

“Working Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America”

Steven J. Ross (Princeton U.) Pub date: February

A history of the early rise and fall of labor-oriented cinema, “Working Class” aims to prove that movies made during the first two decades of the 20th century “were as much a weapon of working class resistance as a form of capitalist propaganda.” Ross backs this claim by crossing film analysis with an historical one, using sources like labor periodicals, union files and government records. Included are sections on the works of D.W. Griffith, Adolph Zukor and the brothers DeMille.

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