BSkyB to make telepix

Sky Movies flies World with three pic deal

LONDON — British Sky Broadcasting is setting up its own film production division, the News Corp.-controlled satcaster’s first foray into the movie biz.

The division, Sky Movies Originals, has sealed a three-feature development deal with Brit indie World Prods., a company that primarily produces drama for television. All three co-productions with World are budgeted between $8 million and $12 million and BSkyB says it has a further three pics in development.

The first feature — likely to begin production later this year — will probably be a romantic comedy for which World is about to sign a director and screenwriter. The films will begin premiering on BSkyB’s movie channels in spring 1999. BSkyB intends to release some of the features theatrically outside the U.K., and possibly even within the U.K.

Each pic will have its own production unit reporting to BSkyB programming head James Baker and BSkyB general manager for broadcasting Elizabeth Murdoch.