Fox, TBS do ‘Deeds’

Bidding caused price to climb above traditional 15%

NEW YORK — “Mr. Deeds” has gone to town, pulling in license fees that could shoot up well beyond $20 million from the Fox Network and TBS for the shared network window.

With other network bidders trying to buy the rights to Col’s “Mr. Deeds,” including the USA Network and FX, the price ended up climbing about two percentage points above the traditional 15% of domestic theatrical gross.

Based on that formula, Fox and TBS would jointly pony up $21.25 million if the movie grosses $125 million from U.S. multiplexes. But the $125 million prediction may be conservative. “Mr. Deeds,” an updated remake of “Mr. Deeds Goes To Town” (1936), with Adam Sandler in the title role originally played by Gary Cooper, has already garnered $74 million in its first two weeks.

The parties, including Columbia TriStar TV Distribution, confirmed the transaction but declined to talk about details.

Fox gets “Mr. Deeds” first for two runs over 14 months, beginning in November 2004. Then TBS comes in for a burst of runs over the next six months. The movie goes back to Fox for one more run within a four-month window, after which TBS gets it for multiple runs over 36 months. During that last period, TBS can sell a run of “Mr. Deeds” to its sister broadcast network the WB.

TBS, the WB and sister network TNT have become regular clients of Col, having earlier bought “Panic Room” in a shared window with CBS and “Spider-Man” in a time share with Fox.

A week ago, TBS, TNT and the WB bought seven titles from Warner Bros., including “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Swordfish.”

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