Encore, Goldwyn Films ink cable TV output

Pact hopes to distrib 60 pics over six years

NEW YORK — Encore Media Group has purchased the exclusive pay-cable TV rights to the films produced and distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

The six-year deal begins with a Goldwyn pic to be released next month; Encore’s Starz! premium channel will begin to get Goldwyn product in mid to late 2000.

Goldwyn hopes to distribute 60 films over the six-year deal, said Meyer Gottlieb, president of Goldwyn Films. The boutique studio plans to produce two to four films a year and acquire six to eight pictures that the company will distribute.

Like most pay TV output deals, the price depends on the films’ theatrical box office performance. Gottlieb said that if the films perform up to expectations, Goldwyn Films will reap $100 million-$200 million from the deal.

The company’s films include “Desert Blue” (scheduled for a June release), director Morgan J. Freeman’s follow-up to “Hurricane Streets,” Bigus Luna’s “The Chambermaid” (already released) and “Tinseltown” (already released).

Gottlieb said Goldwyn’s films were compatible with Encore’s programming philosophy. “Specialized films seem more important to them,” Gottlieb said.