Movie studios and television networks are banking on productions timed to the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination to generate some serious ratings and revenue. Among the offerings, which include much that’s new, and something old as well:
– “Parkland” was released on Oct. 4, starring Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden and Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, whose famous home movie captured the fatal shots. Produced by Tom Hanks, the film focuses on the Dallas hospital where Kennedy was taken after the shooting and is based on Vincent Bugliosi’s 2008 book, “Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
– “Killing Kennedy,” debuting Nov. 10 on National Geographic Channels, is a biopic starring Rob Lowe as President Kennedy and Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie Kennedy. Based on the 2012 book of the same title by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.
– “Legacy of Secrecy,” still in production and expected in theaters next year, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro. Based on the book of the same name by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, who used declassified CIA documents to make the case that JFK’s assassination was a Mafia hit tied to plans to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
– “The Bystander Theory” was released Sept. 17 and is available on Netflix, starring Brad Leland, best known for playing Buddy Garritty on the TV series, “Friday Night Lights.” Written, directed and produced by Tony Zavaleta, the 94-minute drama revolves around a woman who teams up with a conspiracy theorist who believes her grandfather was involved in Kennedy’s assassination.
– “JFK,” director Oliver Stone’s film originally released in 1991, returns briefly to theaters, starting on Nov. 6 in New York and Los Angeles. Stars Kevin Costner as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who remains the only prosecutor to try someone for conspiracy in the president’s murder. Many criticized Stone for taking liberties with the facts.
– “The Sixties,” a 10-part CNN documentary series co-produced by Hanks, opens in November with a 90-minute special episode titled, “The Assassination of JFK (1963).” The network says the inaugural episode “will explore the key conclusions of the controversial Warren Commission, as well as the shocking impact of the assassination upon the nation, and upon American politics.”
– “JFK: The Smoking Gun,” which aired Nov. 3 on the Reelz Channel, is a two-hour docudrama based on the work of police detective Colin McLaren, who spent four years investigating Kennedy’s assassination as a cold case. Reelz says McLaren’s conclusions are based on methodical work and are “a far cry from the fanciful conspiracy theories that surround the world’s most famous assassination.”