×

‘Blonde’ transition

Fox leads multi-net buys of Witherspoon starrer

NEW YORK — MGM’s hit movie “Legally Blonde” will end up harvesting about $15 million in total license fees from the Fox Network, Turner’s TBS/TNT and Comedy Central as part of a complicated deal for the first network window.

The unusual multiple-network contract for “Blonde” is a harbinger of future theatrical-movie deals. The movie studios are trying to keep license fees high in an economic climate that’s so soft it has weakened network demand for movies.

By inducing more than one network to share in the five-year window, the studio can collect more money than if just one network signed up for total exclusivity throughout the five years.

Bouncing around

“Legally Blonde” will bounce around like a pinball in its first network window. The movie kicks off on Fox in February 2004 for a one-year/two-run foray, then takes a year for multiple runs on TBS and TNT, jumping back to Fox for one run over six months and jiggling for its second one-year burst to TBS/TNT. For the final 18 months of the five years, Comedy Central gets its chance to engineer exclusive multiple runs of “Blonde.” Fox will pony up the biggest portion of the $15 million license fee because it gets the first two runs of the movie.

The convoluted deal for “Blonde” is not unprecedented: MGM put together a similar arrangement in late April for “Heartbreakers,” starring Sigourney Weaver and Gene Hackman. NBC bought the first two plays of “Heartbreakers,” followed by multiple runs on the Turner TBS/TNT combo. The movie would then finish its license term on Comedy Central.

MGM, positioning “Blonde” as easily playable on broadcast or basic cable because of its PG-13 rating, created an auction for the movie, with ABC, CBS, NBC and USA all coming to the table as they tried to get a piece of the network window.

As part of its output deal with MGM, Showtime has the pay TV rights to “Blonde,” getting it exclusively for 18 months, beginning in July 2002.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content