'Woman's' pic to bow on Showtime

Regent Entertainment has signed with Pax TV to produce five more original movies after the primetime success of “Tornado Warning” on the network last month.

And instead of premiering in theaters, the Regent movie “A Woman’s a Helluva Thing,” with Penelope Ann Miller and Angus MacFadyen, will make its debut on Showtime later this year.

Regent has had to double its output of produced and acquired TV movies in the last year or so to about 15, said Paul Colichman, a partner in Regent, just to chalk up the same amount of income as before.

What Colichman calls “making a $6 hamburger for $3.95″ became a necessity last year when the European market for movies fell off drastically, triggered by the collapse of Germany’s Kirch Group.

Regent focuses on producing movies that will play to a global audience because most of its U.S. deals are done with cable networks, which pay license fees that are sometimes only a fraction of what a broadcast network will pony up. But revenues can come from more than one source in the U.S. Sometimes the company has to get creative, as when it re-edited and re-scored a Jackie Chan-produced movie called “Gen Y Cops,” made in Honk Kong at a cost of $7.5 million by Regent and Media Asia. Under the new title “Metal Mayhem,” Regent sold it to the Sci Fi Channel.

However, Regent was able to sell the DVD rights to Sci Fi’s sister company Universal Studios Home Video only when it restored the movie to its original Chinese version, keeping the original title.

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