Mediaset scores rights to 3 Oscar winning pix

'Beauty,' 'Matrix,' 'Cider House' to air on Canale 5

ROME — Italy’s leading commercial TV player Mediaset has staged virtually a clean sweep of Sunday night’s major Oscar winners, securing free-to-air broadcast rights to “American Beauty,” “The Matrix” and “The Cider House Rules” for its flagship web Canale 5.

“American Beauty” and “The Matrix” were acquired as part of long-term agreements between Mediaset rights division Mediatrade and the studios behind those films, DreamWorks and Warner, respectively. The deal for rights to “Cider House” was concluded earlier this month with Miramax’s Italian distributor, KeyFilms.

“The Matrix” dominated the Italian box office in summer 1999, reaching a final gross of $9.3 million. UIP’s release of “American Beauty” has been one of the major hits of the current season, with a total of $16 million and climbing.

Reaping benefits

Currently in its third week of release, “Cider House” has taken in $1.9 million and stands to benefit considerably from its double Oscar victory. KeyFilms estimates a final tally in the region of $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

The three films, which collectively took home 11 Oscars, each represent a potential ratings bonanza, and are expected to air on Canale 5 in late 2001, following their broadcast on national pay TV web Telepiu.

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