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SightSound to Netcast Franchise pix

35 titles to be on site by March 31

In its first major Hollywood distribution pact since showing Artisan’s “Pi” online last year, pay-per-view Netcaster SightSound.com said Monday it has inked a five-year deal for exclusive worldwide Internet rights to titles from production company Franchise Pictures’ library.

Deal marks producer and Franchise chairman-CEO Elie Samaha and prexy Andrew Stevens’ entrance into the digital distribution game.

Under terms of the deal, SightSound will make the first 35 yet-to-be-determined Franchise titles available for download by March 31. Netizens will pay a fee per pic.

Buying in

Franchise will also become a shareholder in the dot-com. It will also receive a cut of the profits from the pay-per-view downloads.

Deal follows the start of production on SightSound’s first self-financed pic, the $3 million sci-fier “Quantum Project,” starring Stephen Dorff, Fay Masterson and John Cleese under the helm of production designer Eugenio Zanetti (“The Haunting”). Metafilmics (“What Dreams May Come”) is producing.

“The future of our business is clearly tied to the power of the Internet,” Samaha said. “SightSound.com is creatively and technologically the most progressive company I have encountered. They are the perfect partner for us in this new venture.”

Going legit

SightSound prexy and CEO Scott Sander said, “Hollywood blockbusters are already online illegitimately. The Internet consumer wants the biggest films with the biggest stars. Elie Samaha had the vision to deliver to them.”

Franchise Pictures most recently released “The Whole Nine Yards,” starring Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry. It has “Battlefield Earth,” with John Travolta, skedded for May 12.

Future pics that may or not be released on SightSound include “The Art of War,” starring Wesley Snipes; “Angel Eyes,” with Jennifer Lopez; “Get Carter,” starring Sylvester Stallone; and “The Pledge,” with Jack Nicholson.

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