TNT stirs first window for Artisan’s ‘Echoes’

Number of networks interested, Turner most aggressive, Rubin sez

NEW YORK — Turner Broadcasting’s TNT has outbid Rupert Murdoch’s FX and Barry Diller’s USA Network to claim the first network window of Artisan Entertainment’s supernatural thriller “Stir of Echoes.”

Sources said TNT agreed to a slightly higher guarantee than the usual 15% of the pic’s domestic box office gross, which stands at a respectable $11,855,333 after two weeks of release.

“A number of networks were interested in getting ‘Stir of Echoes,’ but Turner was the most aggressive,” said Gary Rubin, senior VP of Artisan Television.

It’s the first theatrical-movie deal Artisan has struck with Turner, Rubin said. Artisan continues to expand its network relationships, having done its first FX deal last month for “Blair Witch Project” after selling lots of movies over the past few years to USA, titles such as “Ringmaster” with Jerry Springer and “Wes Craven’s Wishmaster,” Rubin said.

Alphabet’s hopes on ‘Miracle’

ABC bought the world premiere of Artisan’s “The Miracle Maker,” the computer-animated full-length feature about the life of Jesus, to run later this year as a holiday special in the “Wonderful World of Disney” Sunday timeslot. A few years ago, Artisan sold “The Arrival” to NBC.

One network source said Artisan was originally looking to package “Stir of Echoes” with its forthcoming movies: Steven Soderbergh’s “The Limey,” with Terence Stamp, and Atom Egoyan’s “Felicia’s Journey,” with Bob Hoskins. But the distributor decided to hold off on the presale of “Limey” and “Felicia’s,” hoping that film-fest buzz will catapult one or both into sleeper hits.

TNT was eager to get “Stir of Echoes” because it failed to land the three previous summer hits in the chiller genre: “Blair Witch Project” and the two that ABC picked up, Touchstone’s “The Sixth Sense” and DreamWorks’ “The Haunting.”

“Echoes” will make its way to TNT early in the second quarter of 2002, following its exclusive pay TV window on Showtime.