Syndication Still Wraps Up Movie Packages

Despite some well-publicized sales of movie packages to cable tv last fall, broadcast syndication has not been forsaken as an avenue for feature films.

“The cycle may have shifted back to broadcast,” says Hilary Hendler, acting CEO of Orbis Communications, addressing the fortunes of a 25-title movie package her company officially launched at NATPE.

So far, the so-called Carolco III movie package has cleared 60% of the country, including all top-10 markets. Other clearances include WTOG Tampa, WTXX Hartford-New Haven, KPDX Portland, WJZY Charlotte and KRLR Las Vegas.

Major titles include eight which will have broadcast debuts, among them “Platoon,” “Hoosiers,” and “Rambo II and III.”

Meanwhile ITC has announced that its Movie of the Month Network and its Volume IX feature film packages have both topped 100 markets across the country. Station clearances for the former stand at 101 markets, or 72% of the market, while those for the latter stand at 105 stations, including 39 of the top 40 markets. Top Volume IX titles include “Jacknife” (Robert De Niro, Ed Harris) and “Without A Clue” (Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley).

Sources say both Buena Vista TV and Fox are also putting together substantial feature film packages for launch into syndication within the next few months.

Buena Vista TV has been testing the waters for some 50-odd titles, including “Pretty Woman,” “Who Shot Roger Rabbit” and “Dick Tracy.” One source said preliminary discussions include titles not yet released.

Fox titles possibly coming to market soon include “Big,” “Die Hard,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Home Alone.” Fox’ last major package of features was sold to the USA Network. Twentieth Television head of domestic syndication Michael Lambert denied that a package of Fox films was being readied for syndication in the near future.

A Blair Rep Firm report released mid-February lists some 164 film titles from 10 distributors (not including the Orbis and ITC films) being offered to stations as part of barter movie packages.

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