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Turner nets land 2 pix at low price

Fox sidesteps sibs with sale

NEW YORK — Turner Broadcasting’s TBS, TNT and the WB have engineered a joint buy of two 20th Century Fox movies, “Unfaithful” and “Drumline,” for a license fee of between $4 million and $5 million each.

The relatively low license fee, which is well below the high-end 15% of domestic box office gross, is another indication of the sluggishness of the marketplace in cable and broadcast for any theatrical short of a blockbuster. “Drumline” earned $56.3 million in U.S. theaters and “Unfaithful” $52.8 million.

Both movies will get heavy marketing campaigns when they arrive at Turner, “Unfaithful” in December 2004 and “Drumline” in May 2005. They are joining such forthcoming titles as “Along Came a Spider,” “The Replacements,” “Little Nicky,” “Proof of Life” and “Pay It Forward” as TV premieres on the Turner networks.

Another noteworthy angle to the deal is Fox has sold two potentially playable titles to Turner, which is a part of AOL Time Warner, and not to the Fox net or FX. More and more of the major studios are selling their titles in arm’s-length deals to all comers instead of funneling them to sister broadcast or cable networks.

The lawyers for profit participants in a movie tend to lower their radar when the studio finds a buyer outside the confines of a sibling network.

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