Fox hooks ‘Bait’ for shared run with TNT

Net hoarding cash for summer blockbusters

The Fox Network, which has so far bought only “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” among the big-grossing summer movies, wrapped up a deal for a shared network window for Warner Bros.’ “Bait,” starring Jamie Foxx; pic opens in theaters Friday.

Fox will share “Bait” with Time Warner’s TBS, which gets the first batch of runs during an exclusive six-month window encompassing the first half of 2003. Fox then picks up “Bait” for two runs over the next 18 months, after which the movie goes back to TBS for the remaining three-and-a-half years of the first network window.

Industry sources said the Fox Network, along with its FX cable sibling, has hoarded its money throughout the summer in anticipation of proffering the eventual winning bid on the three hit 20th Century Fox summer movies that are still available in the network window: “X-Men,” “Big Momma’s House” and “Me, Myself & Irene.” The deal would involve a shared window between Fox and FX.

On “Bait,” a Fox Network official said, “We’re taking a chance on the movie because Jamie Foxx has real upside based on his work in ‘Any Given Sunday.’ ”

The license fee paid by Fox and TBS will be directly tied to the domes-tic box-office performance of “Bait.” If the movie grosses, say, $50 million in U.S. theaters, TBS could end up paying Warner Bros. about $4.5 million and Fox $3 million or so, based on a com-bined 15% of the domestic take.

TBS and its sister network TNT bought “Bait” last week as part of an overall five-picture deal with Warner Bros. (Daily Variety, Sept. 11). The other four are “The Perfect Storm,” “Space Cowboys,” “The Replace-ments” and “The Art of War.”

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