Weinsteins on the sked
John Malone’s Starz has bought exclusive pay-TV rights to four theatricals from the Weinstein Co.: “Derailed,” “The Matador,” “The Libertine” and “Wolf Creek.”The four movies became available in the pay TV window because the Weinstein Co. produced and distributed them as independent pictures following the company’s split from Walt Disney last year. But future Weinstein Co. movies that are distributed by MGM will go to Showtime as part of a previously negotiated output arrangement between Showtime and MGM. Starz and the Weinstein Co. declined to discuss license fees, but the dollar figures were modest because none of the four took off at the box office. “Derailed,” with Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen, grossed $36 million in the U.S.; the Australian horror movie “Wolf Creek” took in $16.2 million; “The Matador,” starring Pierce Brosnan, wound up with $12.6 million; and “The Libertine,” with Johnny Depp, ended up with $4.8 million. Starz will put together marketing campaigns centered on stars such as Depp, Brosnan and Aniston when the movies bec0me available throughout the next six months. Almost totally dependent on theatrical movies, Starz regards promotable titles like those from Weinstein as agreeable additions to the movies it gets exclusively from its two major-studio suppliers, Walt Disney and Sony/Columbia. By contrast, HBO and Showtime, the two other pay-TV networks in the U.S., produce a number of original, scripted series to supplement their movie inventories. Starz will soon be part of a full-fledged media company (Daily Variety, Aug. 30) that, under Chris McGurk, will buy and produce as many as 12 movies a year for eventual use by the network in the pay TV window. The expanded Starz Media operation also will allow the network to buy more premiere movies because it’ll be able to offer the sellers multiple platforms for their pictures, from theatrical and DVD to pay per view and basic cable.