HBO has wooed Summit Entertainment away from Showtime, signing an output deal with the mini-major that will run five years beginning in 2013.
Deal was largely driven by HBO’s desire to put more content on its new digital platform HBO Go.
HBO should receive approximately 45 Summit films in the new pact, including upcoming titles such as “Pompeii,” “Highlander” and “Ender’s Game.”
However, the deal won’t include the five “Twilight” films, Summit’s most lucrative and popular franchise, or Summit’s Oscar winner, “The Hurt Locker.”
Films usually end up on pay cable nine months to a year after their theatrical release.
Summit joins Warner Bros., Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation among HBO’s active output deals.
Summit’s deal with Showtime began in 2008, just in time for the pay cabler to nab the “Twilight” series. Its pics will continue to air on the CBS Corp.-owned pay cabler through 2014. Showtime also has output deals with Miramax, CBS Films, the Weinstein Co. and DreamWorks.
Showtime chairman-CEO Matt Blank has previously stated he wanted to rely less on acquired theatricals and more on original series going forward.
It’s unclear whether Summit approached HBO or vice versa, but the studio likely saw an opportunity to move to HBO as the dominant pay cabler puts more emphasis on adding content to its on-demand and digital platforms.
Summit, which focuses on pics in the $15 million-$60 million budget range, has received good returns for Jake Gyllenhaal starrer “Source Code,” with $53 million currently in the domestic till. “The Beaver,” starring Mel Gibson and directed by Jodie Foster, has been in limited release and has yet to crack the $1 million mark.
The Summit pickup isn’t likely to be the beginning of a studio shopping spree for HBO. Like Showtime, the net has long been emphasizing its original series to auds. Theatricals are a way to satisfy longtime viewers — many of whom don’t want to pay high prices at the multiplex and don’t have subscriptions to movie-delivery systems such as Netflix.
“We are extremely happy to have Summit Entertainment as our newest partner,” said Bruce Grivetti, HBO prexy of film programming.
“HBO is committed to delivering the best filmed entertainment to our subscribers and we believe Summit, an innovative and exciting producer, will play a vital role in the fulfillment of this promise.”