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FILM CLIPS

A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : QUICK BITES : Bet You Thought Bela Lugosi's Neck Biter Was True to Bram Stoker

January 26, 1992|Andy Marx

Director Francis Ford Coppola wants to make it quite clear that his Dracula movie is unlike any other Dracula movie. He's calling it "Bram Stoker's Dracula," and claims it is the only film version offers the complete story from the 1897 Stoker novel of the vampire count, which has been made into scores of movies through the years.

Coppola's film, which is finishing up shooting on the Columbia lot, stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina and Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing in a particularly erotic telling of the Dracula legend. According to Columbia, previous movie "Dracula's" have played up the horror and played down the eroticism of Stoker's novel.

Given the prominence of the author in the movie's billing, you might guess there's a book tie-in working. You'd be right. But since the book is in the public domain--which means that any publisher can put out an edition of it--negotiations for the book deal are a little different.

"It's a special property because it's in the public domain," says Esther Margolis, a former longtime Bantam Books executive, who now runs her own Newmarket Press, in addition to helping Columbia, TriStar and other studios with their book tie-ins. "It's similar to 'The Phantom of the Opera'--several books were published, but only one was officially connected to the stage play."

Columbia will sign one publishing deal, which will give the publisher the right to use the film's artwork and studio logo on the book's cover.

Margolis estimates that there will probably be about 200,000 to 300,000 copies of "Dracula" published during the first printing when the film is released later this year. In addition to the novel, Margolis says there will also be a coffee-table book about the making of the movie and a behind-the-scenes look at its lavish production values, which will be published by the same company.

That won't stop other publishers from putting out more of their own "Draculas" and hoping the movie will push their own sales. But Margolis has faith in the power of the movie. "If you walk into a bookstore and see a large display with the books tied in to the movie, and there's another copy in the back of the store that's not tied-in to the movie, you're probably going to buy the one that's right out front."

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