Live pacts with Showtime

NEW YORK — Live Entertainment continued its evolution from a homevideo distrib to a full-service film company Tuesday by inking a three-year output agreement with Viacom’s Showtime Networks that industry observers value at $100 million.

Under the pact, Showtime will receive exclusive pay TV rights to Live films released theatrically between Sept. 1, 1997, and Dec. 31, 2000. Live expects to release 36 pics during the period covered by the agreement.

Among the Live releases that will air on Showtime are Sidney Lumet’s “Critical Care,” starring James Spader and Albert Brooks; “Wes Craven’s Wishmaster”; “Caught Up,” starring Snoop Doggy Dogg; and “Suicide Kings,” starring Christopher Walken and Denis Leary.

Most of the projects covered by the Showtime agreement have yet to be produced or acquired. Until its July acquisition by an investor group led by Bain Capital, Live’s main focus was the homevideo, not the theatrical, market. It did not previously have a pay TV output deal.

“This deal shows that Live’s new management and existing slate of product represent a real force in theatrical product,” said Amir Malin, co-president of Live Entertainment. “We are pleased that Showtime had the vision and confidence in our organization to make this long-term commitment.”

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