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ABC Family nabs Disney 2009 films

'Carol,' 'Chihuahua,' 'Witch Mountain' included

NEW YORK — ABC Family has snapped up the network TV window of two upcoming high-profile Disney pics: Jerry Bruckheimer’s guinea pig actioner “G-Force” and Robert Zemeckis’ 3-D CG version of “A Christmas Carol,” starring Jim Carrey.

Those titles are part of a five-film deal that includes “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” Adam Sandler pic “Bedtime Stories” and “Race to Witch Mountain.”

The deal reps an unusually large pic purchase for the cabler, which does not typically vie aggressively with other nets for movie rights. It’s only the second time ABC Family has pre-bought a movie (the first was “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” last year).

The net will pay license fees based on a percentage (usually about 15%) of each title’s domestic B.O. gross.

“We’re becoming more of a player in the business of movie premieres,” said Tom Zappala, ABC Family senior VP of acquisitions and scheduling.

“A Christmas Carol,” set to bow Nov. 6, will eventually give ABC Family a boost to its popular “25 Days of Christmas” December programming block when it gets to the cabler in 2012. The net has generated strong ratings the past few holiday seasons with telecasts of Zemeckis’ “The Polar Express.”

“Chihuahua” is tentatively skedded to hit ABC Family’s air next year, while “G-Force” will arrive in 2011. “Bedtime Stories” and “Race” will land along with “Carol” in 2012.

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