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ABC, Turner nab b'cast rights in surprise turn

NEW YORK — Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise will wind up on ABC and Turner’s TNT/TBS in a shared window encompassing a five-year deal for exclusive broadcast rights.

The deal is somewhat of a surprise because 20th Century Fox is handling the U.S. theatrical release, and the U.S. distributor usually also engineers the domestic sale of the movie in the first network window. A big percentage of 20th’s movies wind up on the Fox Network and its cable sibling FX.

But DreamWorks got sway over TV distribution in the U.S. as part of a contract that gives Fox the right to sell “Minority Report” in both U.S. and foreign theaters.

DreamWorks has an output deal for its theatricals with ABC and Turner, and they jumped at the chance to claim dibs on “Minority Report,” which becomes available in February 2005. HBO gets the pay TV rights because it has a longterm output deal with DreamWorks.

15% of gross

The license fee to be paid by ABC and Turner will come to about 15% of the domestic theatrical gross of the movie. ABC will pony up the bigger amount because it will get the first three runs and then relinquish the title to Turner for multiple runs over the final 18 months or so of the network window.

The exact terms are somewhat complicated, and will depend on the ultimate revenues harvested by the movie in U.S. multiplexes.

ABC and Turner’s good fortune in getting the right to buy “Minority Report” is not a first: Late last year, both were able to grab a share in the broadcast window to “A Beautiful Mind,” despite the fact that Universal released the movie in the U.S. And even though Warner Bros. distributed “AI: Artificial Intelligence” to U.S. theaters, the movie will go to ABC and Turner through DreamWorks.

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