The convocation of moguls had gathered at the Beverly Hills Hotel, that pink palace on Sunset Boulevard, to divvy up Saving Private Ryan, a World War II drama starring Tom Hanks, in the works for the summer of 1998. Paramount had the script; DreamWorks had the dream director, Steven Spielberg. That the two studios would agree to share the picture is not that unusual. But which one would get to distribute it in the U.S., and which would get the rest of the world? Both sides wanted the domestic release, which means getting the glory if the picture is a hit.


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