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WAR OF THE WORLDS

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PARAMOUNT WANTS CRUISE TO STAR

Paramount Pictures will partner with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's Cruise/Wagner Prods. on a new feature version of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds."

Cruise and Wagner will produce.

Paramount is hoping that Cruise will star. The film is scheduled for a 2003 start date.

Wells' sci-fi novel was first published in 1898, depicting a global, Martian attack on Earth. The book was adapted as a live news broadcast by Orson Welles' Mercury Theater players and produced as a Paramount feature during the 1950's starring Gene Barry.

The descendants of author H.G. Wells, recently lost their bid to control "The War of the Worlds", as Paramount Pictures have retained all exclusive rights to the novel. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman, said the Wells grandchildren, who filed a suit against Paramount "are unable to sell the right to produce and distribute a television motion picture/miniseries based on the novel to Hallmark Cards Entertainment Productions LLC."

When Wells died in 1946, he left all rights/interests in the novel to son Frank. After his death, Frank Wells' children, Martin and Robin Wells, trustees of their father's estate, started negotiating with Hallmark to produce/distribute a TV miniseries based on the novel. Paramount asserted it had exclusive ownership of the TV rights, based on a 1951 contract signed by Frank Wells.

The judge ruled that "any motion pictures that Paramount has the right to produce, it also has the right to televise." The suit had attempted to draw a distinction between 'motion pictures' and 'television miniseries.' "Such a distinction is untenable," the judge wrote.

"SNEAK PEEK" 's Michael Stevens was the stand-in for Jared "Dallas" Martin during the television series run of "War Of The Worlds".

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