NEW YORK — BBC America is going to the movies, engineering its first-ever TV premiere of a theatrical, Disney’s Helen Mirren comedy “Calendar Girls.”
Deal with Buena Vista also includes “The Quiet American” (2002), with Michael Caine; “The Crying Game” (1992), with Forest Whitaker; “Ethan Frome” (1993), with Liam Neeson; and the TV movie “Essex Boys” (2000), a crime drama with Sean Bean and Tom Wilkinson.
BBC America gets one other TV premiere from Buena Vista, “Kinky Boots,” Miramax’s 2005 comedy about an entrepreneurial transvestite.
Sony Pictures TV has sold two 1994 British movies to the network, “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Shallow Grave,” both of which become available in the summer.
The Buena Vista pics will play on BBC America on various dates between now and summer.
Kathryn Mitchell, general manager of BBC America, said she’s begun actively shopping for theatrical movies because “the studios have become much more flexible in selling them.”
The studios often can’t get a general-entertainment cable network like TNT, USA or FX to buy a Brit pic because of their conviction that American auds will reject anything foreign, even if the actors are speaking English.
For the studios, it’s better to pocket a lowball license fee from BBC America than to watch the movie sit in the studio vault.