It’s poultry in motion: NBC has picked up the broadcast rights to DreamWorks’ “Chicken Run” after ABC passed on the animated comedy.
As part of the deal, NBC will air a half-hour primetime infomercial promoting “Chicken Run,” which opens wide this weekend.
ABC has an output deal with DreamWorks that gives the Alphabet net first look at films domestically distributed by the studio. But so far, ABC has declined to pick up any of the studio’s animated product. NBC previously landed the rights to DreamWorks’ “Antz” and “Prince of Egypt.”
As with those pics, network sources say NBC has guaranteed between $10 million and $15 million for the rights to “Chicken Run.” If the movie grosses more than $100 million, NBC’s license fee goes up an additional $1.5 million for each additional $10 million of domestic box office.
Also as with “Antz” and “Prince of Egypt,” NBC is expected to pick up three runs of the stop-action/clay “Chicken Run” after its video, pay-per-view and pay TV windows.
As part of ABC’s output deal with DreamWorks, the studio can ask the web to air a promotional “making of” special to hype certain kid-oriented pics around the time of their release. If the Alphabet declines, DreamWorks then has the right to sell the pic to a network willing to clear time for the spec.
Primetime off limits
That’s what happened in the case of “Antz” and “Egypt.” DreamWorks insisted on primetime specials as part of the films’ broadcast windows, which is why both pics ended up on the Peacock.
Industry insiders believe ABC is clearly unwilling to turn over precious Alphabet airtime to help another studio sell a family-friendly pic like “Chicken Run,” particularly since parent Disney virtually owns the marketplace on animation pics. Mouse House is currently wooing tykes with “Dinosaur” and “Fantasia 2000.”
In addition, the logical timeslot for the DreamWorks animation pics is Sunday night’s “Wonderful World of Disney” franchise. Disney execs, however, may not want to dilute the “WWOD” brand with non-Disney animated pics.
The NBC special, which peers behind the scenes of “Chicken Run,” airs Saturday at 10 p.m.