NEW YORK — The FX cable network, pushing to compete in the theatrical-movie arena with TBS, TNT and USA, has gone on a shopping spree, landing a shared window with ABC for “The Green Mile” and “Any Given Sunday” — and linking up with its sister Fox Network to share “The Insider,” “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” and “Down to You.”
“Green Mile” and “Any Given Sunday” rep a surprise pickup for FX because they’re from Warner Bros., which almost always engineers movie deals that include its sister networks TBS and TNT.
“We stepped up on these titles because they fit our strategy of buying movies that are both entertaining and controversial,” said Chuck Saftler, VP of programming for FX Networks. “This is the first time FX has ever bought a Warner Bros. movie in its first network window.”
Green for ‘Green,’ grid pic
Saftler declined to discuss prices, but one source says FX will pay about $4 million for “Green Mile” and $3 million for “Any Given Sunday.” FX gets each movie for two years following its three primetime runs on ABC, which previously bought the exclusive rights to the two in a deal that runs from May 2002-May 2005. In exchange for harvesting first dibs, ABC will pony up about $18 million for “Green Mile” and $8.5 million or so for “Any Given Sunday.”
Under the other FX deal, Disney’s Buena Vista TV will pocket a total of about $18 million for four movies, covering a shared license term of five years between FX and Fox. “The Insider” premieres with a burst of runs on FX in spring 2002, then shifts to the Fox network for one run in 2003, rotating between FX and Fox over the final three years of the contract.
“Deuce Bigalow” and “Down to You” are part of a similar five-year rotation, except that both titles will have their spring 2002 premiere on Fox, not FX, which gets the titles in 2003. The fourth Buena Vista title, “Son of Sam,” which grossed a disappointing $19.3 million at the box office, will run exclusively on FX throughout the complete network window. FX will start running “Son of Sam” early in 2002.
In the last two years, FX has bought — exclusively or in shared windows with a broadcast network — such titles as “The Blair Witch Project,” “American Pie,” “Starship Troopers,” “The X-Files: Fight the Future,” “The Full Monty,” “Varsity Blues” and “Boogie Nights.”