NEW YORK — CBS has landed an exclusive first-broadcast window to the forthcoming Brad Pitt theatrical “The Fight Club,” plus four other movies from New Regency: “Entrapment,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Pushing Tin” and the Sarah Michelle Gellar picture “Simply Irresistible.”
Sources say CBS will end up paying New Regency between $40 million and $50 million for the five movies. The high figure will kick in if “Fight Club” becomes a hit at the box office because the license fees are based on a sliding scale tied to the movie’s domestic theatrical performance.
According to insiders, CBS and New Regency are also exploring the possibility of a multiyear output deal, which would parallel the advantage that ABC and the Fox Network enjoy because they have sister companies that produce theatrical movies. ABC gets first dibs on movies from Touchstone, Walt Disney Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax.
Fox, which doesn’t schedule a regular primetime movie night, cherry picks theatricals from 20th Century Fox.
18-month license term
For two of the New Regency pictures, “Entrapment” and “Simply Irresistible,” Time Warner’s TBS and TNT have carved out an 18-month license term to harvest a batch of runs after CBS takes two plays within a three-year period. So “Entrapment,” for example, becomes available to CBS in December 2001 and to TNT in December 2004.
HBO gets all the New Regency theatricals in an exclusive pay TV window roughly one year after they make their debut in the multiplexes.
CBS will also get two runs over three years with “Fight Club,” “Midsummer” and “Pushing Tin,” and a New Regency source says the company will try to sell the pictures to a cable network following their CBS run.
Twentieth Century Fox distributes New Regency movies theatrically, but does not own the broadcast-network rights or the basic-cable-network rights.