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NBC buys ‘Bowfinger,’ ‘Men’

Deal estimated at $15 to $17 mil

NEW YORK — NBC has locked up the exclusive broadcast window to the Universal theatricals “Bowfinger” and “Mystery Men.”

The Universal deal represents the second major movie purchase by NBC this summer. The network bought the exclusive window to a batch of Paramount movies in late June, led by the studio’s two summer hits, “Runaway Bride” and “The General’s Daughter.”

Of the two Universal pictures, sources say NBC will get three runs of “Bowfinger” over a four-year period, and two runs of “Mystery Men” within three years, starting in March 2002.

NBC could end up paying Universal between $15 million and $17 million for the two, the final number dependent on how much each picture earns in the U.S. multiplexes. So far, “Bowfinger” has grossed $46.4 million in 17 days and “Mystery Men” $26.9 million in 24 days.

An NBC spokeswoman confirmed that the network has bought the two pictures, but declined to discuss the terms of the contract.