Whose ‘Titanic’? Theirs

While it’s now clear that Paramount and 20th Century Fox’s “Titanic” will not make its original July 2 release date, top officials at the studios’ parent companies seem to be passing the buck as to who’s in control of the megabudgeted film’s domestic debut.

During a conference call with Wall Street analysts Wednesday, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone said, “Someday we will have ‘Titanic.’ I can’t tell you the date, because the production is in the control of 20th Century Fox.”

Par’s decision

But during a similar phone call later the same day, News Corp. exec Bill Sorenson told analysts that the decision on “Titanic’s” release date was Paramount’s, because Paramount is the domestic distributor.

“They’re both right,” said Paramount vice-chairman Rob Friedman. “The call on the release date is our call, and Fox is in control of the production.”

Friedman wouldn’t venture a guess as to when the film would get its launch, but said it was still possible that the film could get a summer sendoff.

Fox execs could not be reached for comment.

While exhibitors have been told that July 2 is now out of the question, Paramount is reportedly still holding out hope that the film will be delivered in time for a release on July 18, July 25 or Aug. 1.

As the waiting game drags on, however, it may become increasingly difficult for Paramount to book the film into key theaters in top markets.

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