A&E finds ‘Forrester’ in $6.5 mil film buy

Cabler also buys 7 library titles including 'Mary Reilly'

NEW YORK — A&E has negotiated its first-ever buy of a theatrical movie in its TV-premiere network window, laying out about $6.5 million for a 3-1/2 year license term to Columbia TriStar TV’s “Finding Forrester,” with Sean Connery.

While declining to discuss the price, A&E programming VP Barry Schulman said he’s working on other first-window theatricals, at least in part to schedule high-visibility pics for a new Thursday-night A&E movie showcase.

In the deal for “Finding Forrester,” A&E also bought seven library titles from Columbia: “Mary Reilly,” starring Julia Roberts; “Bugsy,” toplining Warren Beatty; Barry Levinson’s “Avalon”; “The Odessa File,” starring Jon Voight; “Little Nikita,” toplining Sidney Poitier; “King Rat,” starring George Segal; and “Crazy Joe,” with Peter Boyle.

With the announcement that NBC will drop its “Sunday Night Movie” next season, and that the other broadcast networks are less than thrilled by declining ratings of theatricals in primetime, cable nets could become the No. 1 outlet for first-window movies, with channels like A&E and Bravo joining TBS, TNT, USA and FX in binge buying of these pictures.

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