RHI, Sci Fi ink monster pact

Duo team to produce 10 pics

Robert Halmi’s RHI Entertainment has charged into the arena of low-budget monster movies, engineering a deal to produce 10 over the next two years for the Sci Fi Channel.

The parties declined to discuss dollar figures, but RHI is expected to spend more than the typical $2.2 million per for a Sci Fi made-for because Robert Halmi Jr., who brokered the deal, will get homevideo rights and some new-media rights like video-on-demand. And instead of the usual 25-year license term for its movies, Sci Fi has locked up the Halmi titles for only seven years.

Sci Fi’s license fee is $750,000 per pic, and the producers, including Nu Image, UFO Films, Regent Media and Cinetel, make up the deficit through international sales and — because the movies are shot in Canada, Europe and other areas outside the U.S. — foreign subsidies.

Sci Fi Channel commissions about 22 pictures a year all told and premieres them in its Saturday-night showcase. “We love exploitable, high-concept movies,” said Tom Vitale, senior VP of programming and original movies. “With hundreds of channels out there, you need movies that grab people.”

Some of the proposed Halmi titles: “Grizzly Rage,” “Maneater,” “Eye of the Beast,” “Blood Monkey” and “In the Spider’s Web.”

The movies consistently score higher ratings than Sci Fi’s primetime average.

Halmi previously produced the miniseries “Earthsea” for Sci Fi in 2004.

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