Castle Rock pleased with Turner deal

GOOD MORNING: First the good news:Ted Turner spent a day visiting his new team members, the Castle Rock’ers, lunched with ’em at Maple Drive, and Ted and Jane sat with Cindy and Alan Horn at the Environmental Media Awards. The Turners also hosted the Horns at their 138,000-acre Montana ranch. Today, Horn is attending the Board of Natural Resources Defense Council in Blowing Rock, N.C. Horn says he, Castle Rock and Turner are totally dedicated to the global environmental problem and they’re looking for a major feature that would involve that theme. It would be a Rob Reiner project … Horn says Castle Rock will retain its total autonomy. “We anticipate great things (with Turner). Before, we were under-capitalized; now we’ll no longer have to make pre-sale deals. Ted wants us to control our destiny in the marketplace.” The distribution pact with Columbia (domestically) winds at the end of ’97. And it’s then anticipated Castle Rock will have, through Turner, its own domestic as well as foreign distribution. They realize it’s a tall order, but Horn said: “We want to compete the same (internationally) as Sony, Disney, Paramount, etc. Ted is fearless. He understands taking the risks and rolling the dice. We want to do well for him.” The budgets for their pix will remain the same — anywhere from $ 5 million to $ 50 million, “although we only made three over $ 40 (million) –‘A Few Good Men,’ ‘In the Line of Fire’ and ‘City Slickers II.'” Castle Rock’s Martin Shafer echoed partner Horn’s enthusiasm for Turner and says they plan to make six films next year averaging $ 25 million. Among those planned is “Beyond Rangoon” with John Boorman … Now for the bad news: The Turner group was “welcomed” in remarks by Horn preceding the showing of “Malice” at the Acad Wednesday p.m. However, while the SRO house applauded and cheered intros of Harold Becker and the film principals, over 700 disgruntled invitees were turned away from the over-invited/attended event. Castle Rock’s John De Simio told the milling mob on Wilshire, “I take full blame.” He admitted , “We were victims of our own success.” The Acad’s other theaters weren’t available, nor the nearby Fine Arts, Music Hall and WGA houses. So De Simio gave out passes to the crowd to return to a post-screening party, where guests were packed like sardines around buffet tables in the Acad entry hall. Whatta mess.

A $ 230 MILLION-PLUS SUIT was filed Thursday by plaintiffs Rodney Sheldon and Mort Lachman against those responsible for the upcoming George Foreman “George” TV series. The defendants include Columbia Pictures TV, Gary Lieberthal, CapCities/ABC, Robert Iger, Tony Danza, Steven Sauer, Sony Pictures Entertainment, etc. The six charges filed by the plaintiffs’ attorney Paul M. Hittelman range from breach of contract to constructive fraud. Lachman and Sheldon claim they launched a show, “Foreman,” with George F. and the defendants back in 1991. They claim the current show, “George”– from which they have been excluded — is “virtually identical” to the one they originally submitted. Round two coming up … Marlee Matlin is guesting this week in a seg of “Seinfeld” in which Jerry has eyes for her … Michael Reagan’s nighttime radio show, now in 70 markets, has added WHO in Des Moines, where Ronald Reagan made his bow as a sportscaster … Vanessa Brown has been invited and will attend V’ienale, the Vienna Film Fest, next week for a symposium of those who fled. She was born in Vienna, has not been back since 1938. “I want to see the Vienna woods and my kindergarten again,” says Vanessa, one of the original Quiz Kids on radio and then a star contractee at Twentieth.

SHERRY LANSING IS THE HONOREE of the National Conference of Christians and Jews Entertainment Industries Division gala Nov. 1 at the BevHilton, where she’s chaired many charity events honoring others … Vanessa Williams sings “That’s What Friends Are For” at this morning’s 11 ayem tribute to Raymond Burr at the Pasadena Playhouse … Producer Ken Ehrlich and director Lou Horvitz tape NBC’s two-hour “A Seventies Celebration: The Beat Is Back,” Saturday at the Wiltern with a cast that could make it a weeklong celebration of music and comedy from that decade — with some ’90s pairings as well. Stay tuned for the airdate, mom … The Oct. 6-8 California Fall Classic Horse Show at the Equestrian Center benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation with the event underwritten by the Samuel Jarred Kushnick Foundation to set up a special fund to grant wishes to children who are HIV-infected … Lisa and Dustin Hoffman host the Rape Foundation’s fundraising brunch Sunday at the home of Marilyn and Barron Hilton to benefit the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center.