Alliance, Movie Channel in pic deal

TORONTO — Showtime’s the Movie Channel has agreed to buy six more movies based on romance novels published by Harlequin Enterprises from producer Alliance Communications.

Toronto-based Alliance said Friday that three of the movies will be shot in Canada and three in an unspecified tropical location. No financial terms were disclosed, but the production budgets of previous Alliance-Harlequin romance movies have been in the $3 million range. Executive producers for the new slate of movies are Susan Minas and Jennifer Black.

The first movie will air on Valentine’s Day next year with one to follow every other month, Alliance said.

In Canada, the movies will be broadcast on the CTV Television Network, which aired the original six Harlequin movies in 1995 and 1996.

Harlequin, also based in Toronto and owned by newspaper publisher Torstar Corp., formed its first joint venture in 1993 to produce the initial series of six movies.

Alliance chairman Robert Lantos said completion of 12 romance movies provides the critical mass to enter new markets, particularly homevideo.

Under the terms of the joint venture, Alliance will distribute the movies worldwide and Harlequin will deal with direct mail video distribution.

Harlequin romances are published in more than 24 languages.

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