USA cables ‘Gangs’ run

Miramax still offering pic's first run to a broadcast network

NEW YORK — Miramax Films has found a buyer for “Gangs of New York,” pocketing about $6 million from USA Network for a portion of the TV window.

That’s considered a good license fee in a down market for theatrical movies that has seen the broadcast nets cut back sharply on movie buying. The networks cite the explosive growth in DVD sales and rentals of movies as an almost certain harbinger of future drop-offs in Nielsen ratings.

But Rick Sands, chief operating officer of Miramax, said he’s confident the movie companies will bounce back from the current sluggish marketplace. “These things go in cycles.”

When reality shows and scripted dramas and sitcoms stumble in the ratings, Sands said, broadcasters will start knocking on the doors of the movie companies.

In the “Gangs” deal, Miramax has held back a part of the window for sale to a broadcast network. The key inducement is the first run of “Gangs” in advance of its appearance on USA.

Miramax is offering a broadcast network that first run of “Gangs” in a six-month window beginning in September 2005. USA gets its first group of runs in a one-year license term starting in March 2006. The broadcast network that buys it would have another six months to play its second run, after which USA comes in with its final 18 months for multiple runs. Jane Blaney, the network’s senior VP of program acquisitions, negotiated the deal for USA.

USA will run a version of “Gangs” that’s as close as possible to its theatrical version, whereas Miramax plans to do more editing of the movie to create a version more acceptable to broadcast standards.

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