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Zoetrope sues over ‘Contact’

Zoetrope Corp. has filed a suit against the late Dr. Carl Sagan and Warner Bros. over the upcoming film “Contact,” with the suit alleging the Sagan book was based on an idea by Francis Ford Coppola.

In a complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Coppola’s company Zoetrope alleges that Coppola created a TV project about earth’s first contact with extra-terrestrials and that Sagan was brought in as a collaborator.

Under terms of a 1975 contract, the suit says, Sagan was given the right to publish a book about the subject matter, but he was supposed to share book revenues with Zoetrope and CTW Prods. Inc.

“Contact” was published in 1985. Robert Zemeckis is directing a WB film version, produced by Lynda Obst and starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. According to the suit, Sagan allegedly entered into a contract with WB and did not share any payment with Zoetrope.

The suit seeks at least $250,000 in compensatory damages and an injunction against production or distribution of the film.

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