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CALIFORNIA LOTTERY: REEL OR REAL? A TRUE TO LIFE LOTTERY STORY HITS THE BIG SCREEN

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 25 /PRNewswire/ -- California Lottery announced it has joined TriStar Pictures in promoting their new movie "It Could Happen To You," to be released July 29, 1994.
 "It Could Happen To You" is the story of a New York cop (Nicolas Cage), his wife (Rosie Perez), a waitress (Bridget Fonda), and a lottery ticket that changes their lives in ways they could never have anticipated.
 In keeping with the theme of the movie, the California Lottery has compiled a collection of real-life stories of everyday folks who struck it rich winning the Lottery. Everyday people like Pasquale Benenati, an aerial survey pilot, who is the first person ever to have won all Super Lotto prize categories, including a jackpot of $5.1 million; and Christene Lentz, who threw away her alarm clock after winning $19.5 million.
 "We are in a business that produces big winners," said California Lottery Marketing Director Denise Kimes. "This movie presented us with a perfect opportunity to generate some excitement through Lottery winners' real life accounts about what it feels like to win the Lottery."
 In addition to fulfilling their life-long dreams, California Lottery winners are heavily involved in their communities, donating both time and money to an array of philanthropic activities including education scholarships and endowments, children's charities, assistance to the homeless, and churches in their communities.
 California Lottery winners will be attending movie radio nights on July 27, 1994, in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will be available for interviews. For additional information on real life Lottery winners call Norma Minas of the California Lottery at the number listed below.
 "It Could Happen to You" Production Information
 All Charlie Lang (Nicolas Cage) wants out of life are a few simple things: To be a good cop and a helpful neighbor; to love his wife and start a family. Muriel Lang (Rosie Perez) has different aspirations, however, all of them having to do with money. A brassy hairdresser with ambitions and pretensions galore, she wants out of Queens and into Manhattan; in short, she wants out of her life with Charlie. Then there's Yvonne Biasi (Bridget Fonda), a good-hearted waitress at a small TriBeCa coffee shop who's been drive into bankruptcy by her estranged husband.
 The very day the court declares her bust, along comes Charlie looking for nothing more than lunch. Given his nature, Charlie can't help but notice that Yvonne's unhappy and tries to cheer her up. He's interrupted by police business, however, and as he gets ready to pay the check, he realizes he doesn't have enough cash for a tip. Waving the lottery ticket he just bought for his wife, he promises Yvonne that if he wins, he'll split the pot with her 50-50, and if he doesn't win, he'll still come back and leave her a tip.
 Astonishingly, Charlie does win -- to the tune of $4 million. Even more astonishingly, he keeps his promise to Yvonne. His wife is furious, but the New York press is delighted and shines the media spotlight on this white knight cop and damsel-in-distress waitress. They've won big, but Charlie, Yvonne and Muriel find that instant wealth and fame change their lives in ways they could never have anticipated.
 Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda and Rosie Perez star in the romantic comedy "It Could Happen to You," a TriStar Pictures presentation of an Adelson/Baumgarten and Lobell/Bergman production directed by Andrew Bergman. Also starring are Wendell Pierce, Isaac Hayes, Seymour Cassel, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins and Red Buttons. The film is produced by Mike Lobell and executive produced by Gary Adelson, Craig Baumgarten and Joseph Hartwick.
 Written by Emmy and Writers Guild Award winner Jane Anderson ("The Positively True Adventures of the Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom"), the film "is not so much about, 'Would I give away that amount of money?'" said director Andrew Bergman. "It's, 'Would I keep my word, no matter what the outcome?' And if you don't keep your word, how do you feel about yourself?"
 Part satiric, part inspirational, part flat-out funny, "It Could Happen to You" tackles those questions through the character of Charlie, who, in spite of the cynicism of contemporary society, really believes in old-fashioned phrases like "A promise is a promise" and "I gave my word." Charlie's a real stand-up kind of guy -- a cop who knows the name of everybody on his beat; a neighbor who likes nothing better than playing stickball with the kids on his block; a man who doesn't need a million dollars to be happy about who he is.
 -0- 7/25/94
 /CONTACT: Linda Barton Macdonald or Norma Minas, of the California Lottery, 916-324-9639/


CO: California Lottery ST: California IN: ENT SU:

LW-JH -- SF014 -- 9448 07/25/94 20:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 25, 1994
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