Milken Movie Project Junked

Hollywood's efforts to bring the story of Michael Milken to the big screen--once thought to have high-yield potential at the box office--appear dead.

In a much-publicized sale, producer Bernie Brillstein in 1988 bought for an undisclosed price the film rights to author Connie Bruck's "The Predators' Ball."

The book was a best-selling look at Milken and the junk-bond machine he built at Drexel Burnham Lambert before he went to prison on securities violations. Rumors circulated that Robert Redford or Dustin Hoffman were interested.

But the project never got off the ground, and both Brillstein and Bruck concede that it probably never will.

Brillstein says he sold the rights to Paramount Pictures, whose sister company Simon & Schuster published Bruck's book. The project then "entered limbo-land," said Brillstein, who declines to speculate on why. But Bruck, who owns the rights again, says Paramount Communications Chairman Martin S. Davis told her he didn't think that it would make a good movie.

Nothing to Crow About

Guatemala's best-selling beer is being introduced in California later this month under the name Famosa (Spanish for famous ) because its real name is too famosa in these parts.

The beer, brewed by Central Beer in Guatemala City, is sold under the name Gallo (Spanish for rooster ) in Central America and the Caribbean.

The E. & J. Gallo Winery, of course, is the huge Modesto winemaker. More important, Gallo is one of the most notoriously aggressive companies in the nation when it comes to enforcing its trademark. Ernest and Julio Gallo once sued their younger brother for selling cheese under the family name.

About 10 years ago, a Gallo spokesman said, the winery sent the beer maker a letter or two reminding it of who owns the Gallo name in the United States, but heard nothing. A spokesman for the Guatemalan Consulate in Los Angeles said the brewery decided to label its beer Famosa 1896 to avoid legal trouble and paying a licensing fee.


As if Captain Planet isn't enough, a Los Angeles company called Formula Marketing and Licensing wants to launch another eco-hero called the Solarist.

The company says he's a "pro-active" super-hero who:

* "Transforms a despairing world's tears into drops of liquid energy."

* "Becomes the power of light, the power of the sun."

* "Leads a growing force whose ranks swell against the tide of past mistakes and squelches their nefarious emissaries."

Briefly. . .

His chips are down: In a statement last week, beleaguered real estate magnate Donald J. Trump said, "As a protest against the singling out and unfair treatment given me by the media, I would ask that everyone go to my three spectacular casino hotels." . . . An Armor All study last week ranked Los Angeles as the toughest of 12 cities studied in which to keep a car clean . . . The "Overpriced Stock Service" recommends shorting Sony shares partly because of the Bruce Willis bomb "Hudson Hawk," a Tri-Star film the newsletter says should be renamed "Die Quickly."

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