Miramax Films has acquired North American theatrical rightsto Apocalypse Now Redux, the officialname given to Francis Ford Coppola's extended cut of his 1979 classic Vietnamwar opera that will be given its world premiere as a special screening at this year's Cannes Film Festival in May.

The film, which includes an additional 53 minutes of never-before-seenfootage and now runs 3 hours and 17 minutes, will be released across in NorthAmerica in the third quarter of this year, a few months after the year's majorwar extravaganza, Michael Bay's Pearl Harbour, has hit domestic theatres starting May 25th.The original version was released by United Artists and won Oscars for soundand one for Vittorio Storaro for his mesmerizing cinematography.

Apocalypse Now Reduxhas peaked the interest of other international distributors too. Earlier thismonth, Screen Daily revealed that Italy's Istituto Luce was in talks toacquire Italian rights with plans to release the film immediately after Cannesas a counter-programming ploy against Pearl Harbour (which Buena Vista is looking to release in Italy onJune 1st).

Coppola created the new version with his longtimecollaborator, the Academy Award-winning editor Walter Murch. This editionincludes the much-discussed "French plantation" sequence featuringthe late Christian Marquand and Aurore Clement. The Playboy Playmates sequencehas been expanded, and there is more detail involving Martin Sheen and hiscrewmates on their voyage, along with a new Marlon Brando scene.

"We re-edited the film from the original unedited rawfootage," said Coppola. "The themes emerge more clearly and the filmis funnier, sexier, more romantic, more political, and more bizarre, with morehistorical perspective. I am pleased to be working with Miramax and excitedthat when this version of the film comes to theaters later this year, it willbe as if it's being presented for the first time."

Added Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, confirming thelatest in a string of acquisitions this year: "We're thrilled to bepresenting this landmark of American cinema in a whole new way -- that's evenmore compelling, memorable and controversial than the original. The new footageseems strikingly prescient and insightful today, and elevates the picture's already-considerablestature dramatically."

Apocalypse Now Redux,an American Zoetrope production, is directed by Coppola, who also wrote thescreenplay with John Milius. Coppola and Kim Aubry produced the film with GrayFrederickson, Fred Roos, and Tom Sternberg as co-producers. The film starsBrando, Robert Duvall, Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne,Dennis Hopper, and Harrison Ford.

Mark Gill, president of Miramax L.A., brought the film tothe company. Bob Osher, co-president of production, Eric Roth, vice-president ofbusiness and legal affairs, and Gill negotiated the agreement on behalf of Miramax. American Zoetrope was represented Armstrong Hirsch Jackoway Tyerman &Wertheimer. Also involved was Zoetrope representative Tom Sternberg.