Cabler opens window on 'Pleasantville,' 'Soldier'

NEW YORK — Turner Network TV has landed the first broadcast window to the hit theatrical “Pleasantville” and to the Kurt Russell starrer “Soldier.”

But New Line Cinema, which distributes “Pleasantville,” and Warner Bros., the distributor of “Soldier,” are negotiating with a broadcast network to buy one run of each pic after its Turner play on either TBS or TNT.

This dual-window strategy has become common practice for Warner Bros. and New Line because, like TBS and TNT, they’re all part of the Time Warner empire. The cable networks are eager to get these first windows because they can rack up healthy Nielsen ratings. But for big-grossing theatricals, the price would usually be prohibitive for TBS or TNT to get total exclusivity, which is why New Line and Warners seek a broadcaster to share the window.

Hit parade

Four recent Warner Bros. pictures — “City of Angels,” “A Perfect Murder,” “The Negotiator” and “Without Limits” — will get their first window on CBS, each playing once within a one-year license term. After that one play, the pictures go back to Turner for approximately a three-year exclusive window.Currently, the Fox network and Turner’s cable networks are sharing the first broadcast window to three pics: “Rush Hour,” “Money Talks” and “Most Wanted.” With “Rush Hour,” which is still going strong after hitting $122 million in domestic box office over the weekend, Turner has the first multirun play. The single Fox network run won’t kick in until six months after TBS or TNT gets its burst.

On “Money Talks” and “Most Wanted,” the positions are reversed: Fox gets the first play and then Turner gets the pics for the final three-plus years of the first broadcast window.

ABC, which has a big inventory of theatricals and gets first crack at movies distributed by its sister companies Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures and Buena Vista, tends to shy away from shared windows with Turner. When Warner Bros. came to ABC to sell its solidly performing theatrical “Practical Magic,” the network ended up buying up the entire broadcast window exclusively in a multiyear, multirun deal.

In its announcement, Turner said it has bought the entire broadcast window to New Line’s “The Players Club,” Columbia TriStar’s “The Big Hit,” Castle Rock’s “My Giant,” Polygram’s “Return to Paradise” and two Warner Bros. movies: “Wrongfully Accused” and “Tarzan and the Lost City.”

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