There's gold in those comic strips--at least that what hopes Columbia Pictures as its "Annie" continues to do good business in its third week of release. Columbia is also pinning its hopes on another comic strip: "Li'l Abner," which the studio has just acquired for an upcoming motion picture. Unlike "Annie," it won't be based on a Broadway play, although there was a theatrical "Li'l Abner" during the 1956 season.
Columbia has lost its battle to stop distribution of "Paradise," which it claimed was too similar in content and, especially, ad campaign to its "Blue Lagoon." The same judge who recently ruled that "Great White" was a "Jaws" copy has now said that this time around, the suspect film isn't too close for comfort . . . but MGM has won a court battle of its own, in which the heirs to the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate charged that the John and Bo Derek version of "Tarzan, the Ape Man" was an infringement of copyright. Not so, said the judge, whose lengthy opinion stated that the 1981 film complies with a 1931 agreement entitling MGM to use the character, and, by extension, apparently allowing Bo and John to throw in as much incoherence and nudity as they want . . .