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Subject: Producer Arnold Kopelson (Platoon, The Fugitive)

Dies at 83
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Date Posted: Monday, October 08, 11:45:33am

Arnold Kopelson, Oscar-Winning Producer on 'Platoon,' Dies at 83

The Hollywood Reporter
October 8, 2018

Arnold Kopelson, the Oscar-winning producer who was behind such features as Platoon, Seven and The Fugitive while pioneering the practice of presales in motion pictures, died Monday, his wife, Anne Kopelson, said. He was 83.

Kopelson was a rare producer who had the knack to make both big-budget action movies and smaller, more intellectually challenging films. His movies received 17 Oscar noms, and he won the best picture trophy for Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986).

He was nominated again for Andrew Davis' The Fugitive (1993).

In 1995, Kopelson signed an exclusive, production deal with 20th Century Fox after 5 1/2 years as a producer with a first-look deal at Warner Bros.

Kopelson moved from a legal and financial career into producing. In all, he produced or executive produced nearly 30 features, also including Triumph of the Spirit (1989), Seven (1995), Falling Down (1993), Outbreak (1995), Eraser (1996), U.S. Marshals (1998), The Devil's Advocate (1997), A Perfect Murder (1998), Thieves (2001) and Twisted (2004).

He was honored as producer of the year at Showest in 1994.

Kopelson began his career in New York as an entertainment and banking attorney. As a lawyer, he represented institutions that lent money to the entertainment industry.

In 1972, he and future wife Anne Frieberg formed Inter-Ocean Film Sales to represent independent film producers in marketing their films internationally. The company was an instant success, licensing Ted Kotcheff's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974), starring Richard Dreyfuss.

Inter-Ocean Film Sales recognized the growing demand for U.S. films aboard and capitalized on that during the 1970s and '80s. For years, Kopelson worked the film markets at MIFED, Cannes and AFM, sometimes selling films by the foot.

During this period, Inter-Ocean represented producers on more than 100 motion pictures; those included Bud Yorkin's Twice in a Lifetime (1985) and Stone's Salvador (1986).

With sales declining, Kopelson turned to producing, forming Film Packages Inc. to develop and produce movies. He personally financed his company's overhead and development costs and produced his first three movies with Boston-based General Cinema Group. Among his early successes was the box-office comedy sensation Porky's (1981).

More auspiciously, Kopelson teamed with Stone on Platoon, which received four Oscars in all. He followed up with Warlock (1989) and Triumph of the Spirit, a story of a Balkan boxing champion sent to Auschwitz; the film was praised by Holocaust survivors.

Kopelson acquired the rights to the famed 1960s ABC series The Fugitive and produced the adaptation at Warner Bros. that starred Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble.

He had been in the news recently as it was reported this summer that in January, he had made a secret video of Sumner Redstone, his friend of 17 years, that could have emerged in an then-ongoing legal battle between Shari Redstone and members of the CBS board who supported CEO Leslie Moonves.

Kopelson denied that he had made the video surreptitiously. The video could have bolstered claims that Redstone, 95 is no longer competent to weigh in on his businesses, but it was never released and litigation was resolved just as Moonves departed following increasingly serious allegations of sexual misconduct. As Shari Redstone took control of the CBS board, Kopelson was among several directors who departed.


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