TBS gets ‘Lost’ before webs

Price of sci-fier depends on B.O. gross

NEW YORK–Turner Broadcasting System has aced out the broadcast networks again for the exclusive first window of New Line Cinema’s “Lost in Space.”

The license fee Turner will pay for the movie, which has grossed $40.2 million in its first two weeks in the theaters, is dependent on the final domestic gross of “Space.” But as a rule of thumb, TBS will pony up about $1.5 million for every $10 million “Lost in Space” earns in the theaters. So if it grosses $60 million, the first broadcast window, which will start in April 2001, will cost TBS $9 million.

But sources say the Fox network may put in a bid for one run in a 12-month window following TBS’ first burst of runs in the second quarter of 2001. If Fox paid $3 million for that one run, that total would be subtracted from TBS’ license fee. TBS and New Line will work closely on any additional “Lost in Space” deals because they’re both divisions of Time Warner.

Turner is getting first dibs on most New Line movies, buying such recent exclusives as “Wag the Dog,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and, from Fine Line, “Shine.”