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HOLLYWOOD, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Paramount Pictures is entering the growing market for theme restaurants by joining forces with Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. to launch a nationwide chain of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. family restaurants inspired by the studio's Academy Award(R)- winning feature film "Forrest Gump," it was jointly announced today. A new entity -- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc. -- has been formed to handle the development, construction and operation of the new chain.

The first of these casual, family-oriented restaurants will open in April 1996 in a historic Cannery Row building just a few steps from the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of California's top tourist attractions. The restaurant offers a spectacular view of Monterey Bay and is ideally situated to draw from the 1.6 million people who pass to and from the Aquarium each year -- a figure that is expected to soar because of the recent opening of the Aquarium's new $57 million addition.

Andrea Hein, President of Viacom Consumer Products, said: "With the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. we have met our objective of bringing Viacom and Paramount into the theme restaurant market, which is the fastest growing segment of the casual dining business. The incredible popularity of `Forrest Gump' -- Paramount's highest grossing film ever -- gives us instant recognition with the public, while teaming with Rusty Pelican allows us to benefit by their expertise in the restaurant business."

Scott Barnett, Chief Executive Officer and President of Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc., said: "Going to a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant will be a fun, family-oriented dining experience that will offer excellent food value. We hope the restaurant captures the charm, whimsy and camaraderie that made the film such a runaway hit. Our extensive experience serving quality seafood combined with the universal good will that `Forrest Gump' enjoys, makes us confident that our new concept will be enthusiastically embraced by restaurant-goers everywhere."

Initial plans call for 23 restaurants to be built across the nation, primarily in tourist oriented waterfront locations. Site selection is already underway for expansion into San Francisco, San Diego and Orlando, Florida. The restaurant design reflects Forrest's unique friendship with Bubba by combining all-American optimism with down-home flourishes from Bayou LaBatre, including the smiling shrimp logo from the film's fictional shrimping company. In addition to a collection of memorabilia from "Forrest Gump," each location will prominently feature a merchandise store offering popular licensed products as well as an assortment of giftware and apparel developed exclusively for the chain.

"Forrest Gump," released in 1994 with Tom Hanks in the title role, was nominated for 13 Academy Awards(R) and won six of them, including those for best picture and actor (Hanks). The film, which also received three Golden Globes, has collected more than $650 million in theaters worldwide, making it the top-grossing film in Paramount's history and the film industry's third highest grossing movie ever. In the home video arena, "Forrest Gump" is one of the two top-selling live-action video releases of all time with over 16 million copies sold. In addition, it is Paramount Home Video's best-selling title ever.

Other "Forrest Gump" successes include the Epic Records soundtrack, which sold 8 million copies worldwide, reaching platinum status domestically and in 10 foreign territories. Film-related books have also proved to be a success. Winston Groom's original novel, "Forrest Gump"; the sequel, "Gump & Co."; and "Gumpisms," a collection of Forrest's sayings, combined for sales of more than 4 million copies. All three reached the New York Times' best-seller list, with "Forrest Gump" and "Gumpisms" holding down the No. 1 position for several weeks. The three books are published by Pocket Books, a division of Viacom subsidiary Simon & Schuster.

A privately held company with headquarters in San Clemente, CA, Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. opened its first location in Newport Beach, CA, in 1972 and now operates restaurants throughout the country. It also owns and operates a sourcing and distribution company which will supply fresh seafood to all Bubba Gump locations.

Viacom Consumer Products, a unit of Viacom Entertainment Group, is a division of Viacom Inc.

Viacom Inc. is one of the world's largest entertainment and publishing companies and a leading force in nearly every segment of the international media marketplace. The operations of Viacom include Blockbuster Video, Blockbuster Music, MTV Networks, Paramount Parks, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television, Showtime Networks, Simon & Schuster and Viacom Interactive Media, as well as cable systems serving 1.2 million customers, radio and television stations, and movie screens in 11 countries. Viacom also has a substantial interest in Discovery zone and a majority interest in Spelling Entertainment Group. National Amusements, Inc., a closely held corporation which owns and operates almost 1,000 screens in the US and the UK, is the parent company of Viacom.
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/CONTACT: Linda Martin of Laer Pearce & Associates, for Rusty Pelican Restaurants, 714-753-1111; or Karen Strickholm of The Strickholm Company, for Viacom Consumer Products, 310-264-4200/

/Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. logos -- color and B & W -- available upon request or from Wieck Photo DataBase, 214-392-0888/

CO: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc.; Viacom Consumer Products;

Rusty Pelican Restaurants Inc. ST: California IN: ENT RST SU:

SS-BB -- LAM011 -- 0624 03/11/96 09:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 11, 1996

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