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Comedy Central nabs Weinstein trio

Pact includes 'Superhero Movie,' Fanboys'

“Superhero Movie” is blasting its way onto Comedy Central, which has agreed to pay the Weinstein Co. $2.7 million for cable rights to the picture as part of a deal that also includes pre-buys of two unreleased titles: “Fanboys” and “The Promotion.”

Comedy Central will end up paying TWC about 11% of the final domestic box office of “Fanboys” and “The Promotion.”

Dave Bernath, senior VP of programming for the net, said pre-buys are unusual for Comedy Central but locking up a movie before it opens in theaters “is becoming a trend among cable networks, which are aggressively going after big pictures.”

Comedy Central tries to keep as many as 300 movies in its inventory, Bernath said, to fill the slots for the two pictures it schedules every weekday afternoon and the day/night wall-to-wall lineup of movies on Saturday and Sunday.

When it buys a cable premiere of a picture like “Superhero Movie,” it will promote it heavily, playing it multiple times during the first weekend. The network also buys shared-window deals of big hits like “Wedding Crashers” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which it gets after the movies have premiered on a bigger network such as TNT, USA or FX.

The Weinstein Co. doesn’t have a pay-TV output deal, but the company has included in the contract a clause allowing it to sell “Superhero Movie,” “Fanboys” and “The Promotion” in the pay window before the movies become available to Comedy Central. Weinstein regularly sells movies to both Showtime and Starz.

Comedy Central, which has a four-year license term, has agreed to allow Weinstein to carve out a window within that term for another cable network to buy some runs of one or more of the movies.

“Superhero Movie” is just wrapping up its theatrical run in the U.S., having grossed $25.2 million. Weinstein’s Third Rail Releasing will put “The Promotion,” from Dimension Films, into multiplexes June 6. In “The Promotion,” directed by Steve Conrad, John C. Reilly and Seann William Scott play Chicago supermarket clerks competing for a manager’s job.

There’s no release date yet on “Fanboys,” directed by Kyle Newman, which deals with a group of young people who trek cross country in 1998 to sneak into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to steal a print of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” before the movie’s release.

Comedy Central gets “Superhero Movie” in September 2010, “Fanboys” in December 2010 and “Promotion” in March 2011.

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