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Eye web, Turner cut $30 mil ‘Zorro’ pact

CBS gets first stab at pic

CBS and Turner Broadcasting have snared the TV rights to Sony Pictures’ swashbuckler “The Mask of Zorro” in a deal worth an estimated $30 million.

The swordplay for the non-pay TV rights to “Zorro” was said to be hot and heavy between ABC, CBS and the USA Network and Turner Broadcasting cablers. Reps for CBS, Turner and Sony declined to comment on the deal.

Separately, CBS also secured the broadcast preem of Sony’s well-received kid pic “Madeline.”

CBS will get its first crack at “Zorro” in February 2001, following its pay TV preem on Showtime. The deal gives the Eye web three exclusive runs of “Zorro” over three years. Pic will then go to one of the Turner cablers, probably TBS, but the terms of the Turner side of the equation were unclear Monday.

As usual, the deal for “Zorro” includes escalator clauses that will hike the final pricetag if the pic’s domestic B.O. surges past the $100 million mark.

After two weeks in release, “Zorro” has taken in an estimated $47.6 million and is projected to wind up in the $90 million-$100 million domestic range.

CBS, meanwhile, is looking forward to a bountiful first quarter of 2001, when the Eye web will have the premier pigskincast, January’s Super Bowl, followed closely by the broadcast preem of “Zorro” and another 1998 summer hit, “Deep Impact.”

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