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DirecTV Pacts with Indie Film House A24 for Early-Release VOD Titles

Deal gives satcaster access to pics on VOD 30 days before theatrical release

DirecTV is officially in the film biz: The satcaster is teaming with indie studio A24 to jointly acquire films for U.S. distribution, with DirecTV getting rights to offer the films on-demand 30 days prior to theatrical release.

Initially, DirecTV is committing $40 million to the partnership with A24 — a baby step, to be sure, given that the amount represents a small fraction of the No. 1 satellite operator’s total revenue ($7.7 billion in the second quarter of 2013).

That $40 million covers the initial investment of the first phase of DirecTV’s Cinema Exclusive Premiere program, which will offer 12 films, according to a rep.

The first film for the duo is “Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Denis Villeneuve, based on Javier Gulon’s adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel “The Double.” DirecTV and A24 acquired the U.S. rights to “Enemy” at the Toronto International Film Festival for between $1 million and $2 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an anonymous source.

DirecTV expects to debut “Enemy” in early 2014, with seven-day rentals for early-release VOD titles to be priced at between $10.99 and $12.99.

New York-based A24, formed last year with backing from Guggenheim Partners, also closed deals at the Toronto fest for Tom Hardy’s drama “Locke” and Scarlett Johansson’s science-fiction vehicle “Under The Skin.”

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