‘Apocalypse’ again

Miramax to distrib Coppola's director's cut

Fifty-three minutes longer than the original, Francis Ford Coppola’s director’s cut of his classic “Apocalypse Now” will find its way into theaters later this year via Miramax Films.

The mini-major has acquired North American theatrical rights to “Apocalypse Now Redux,” which runs 3 hours, 17 minutes.

Miramax was one of three suitors for the reissue theatrical rights; the others were Paramount and Sony Pictures Classics. Paramount owns the video, DVD and television rights to the pic. According to sources close to the deal, Miramax will take a 10% distribution fee but will need to put up all P&A, money it will not be able to recoup from ancillary deals, since those rights are Par’s.

Cut above

Using one of the pic’s original editors, Walter Murch, Coppola completed the re-edited and remixed version of his 1979 classic late last fall, telling Daily Variety at the time, “We felt now that some of the real unusual things we had in the original cut would bring it back to a level of avant garde-ness and length that it lacked.” (Daily Variety, Oct. 1).

The director returned to the original negative, adding in several “razor slices,” as Coppola calls them, of Marlon Brando, and more humorous scenes. The new edition also includes the much-discussed “French Plantation” sequence, featuring the late Christian Marquand and Aurore Clement. The Playboy Playmates sequence has been expanded, and there is more detail of Martin Sheen and his fellow soldiers.

Coppola also returned to the musical score he had worked on with his late father, discovering sections in the enhanced pic that needed new music.

“Apocalypse Now Redux” is an American Zoetrope production helmed by Coppola, who wrote the screenplay with John Milius. Coppola and Kim Aubry produced the film, with Gray Frederickson, Fred Roos and Tom Sternberg as co-producers. The film features Brando, Robert Duvall, Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford.

Cinematic ‘landmark’

“We’re thrilled to be presenting this landmark of American cinema in a whole new way that’s even more compelling, memorable and controversial than the original,” said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. “The new footage seems strikingly prescient and insightful today, and elevates the picture’s already considerable stature dramatically.”

Added Coppola: “We re-edited the film from the original unedited raw footage. The themes emerge more clearly and the film is funnier, sexier, more romantic, more political and more bizarre, with more historical perspective. I am pleased to be working with Miramax and excited that when this version of the film comes to theaters later this year, it will be as if it’s being presented for the first time.”

Mark Gill, prexy of Miramax L.A., brought the film to the company based in part on a relationship with Coppola from the successful launch of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

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