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Par buys ‘Gump’ book sequel

Less than three weeks after “Forrest Gump” author Winston Groom and Paramount Pictures resolved their differences over his profit participation on the film version of his book, the scribe has sold the studio the worldwide motion picture rights to the sequel novel, “Gump & Co., ” in an outright sale worth well over $1 million.

Motion picture group prexy John Goldwyn said that Paramount indeed hopes to make a sequel, but emphasized that this was merely a literary acquisition and that the studio will not pursue casting until it has a decent script.

“Gump & Co.,” which continues the story that inspired the second-highest domestic box office release in history, will be published in August by Pocket Books, a division of Paramount-owned Simon & Schuster. This book details Gump’s travels and travails from 1980 to the present.

“Gump & Co.” also includes the same type of picaresque scenes that were so popular in the original. “Anywhere from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Oliver North to the Exxon Valdez, Gump is there causing a lot of trouble,” Groom explained.

Groom’s deal also includes bonuses tied to book sales and motion picture ticket sales. He emphasized that the recent flap with Paramount bonus payments was merely a misunderstanding that got out of hand.

Groom was paid $350,000 upfront for the rights to “Forrest Gump,” and the deal also called for 3% of the net profits. Groom had hired attorney Pierce O’Donnell to examine a 1994 net profit statement that claimed “Forrest Gump” was $62 million in the red.

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