Comedy Central buys Artisan’s ‘Van Wilder’

Pic joins 'Teen,' 'Slackers,' 'Corky' on cabler's slate

NEW YORK — Comedy Central has bought the exclusive network window to “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” for about $2.2 million.

Artisan Entertainment’s “Van Wilder” is Comedy Central’s latest pickup in an aggressive strategy to lock up exclusive network-window rights to comedy movies that perform modestly at the box office. Recent buys include “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Slackers” from Columbia Pictures, and “Corky Romano” from Touchstone.

The network will engineer a shared window with other networks for additional titles such as “Zoolander,” “Rat Race” and “Orange County,” all from Paramount, and “How High” from Universal.

Comedy Central bought “Van Wilder” after working with Artisan to do a half-hour special about the making of the movie, which ran a number of times on the network in advance of the theatrical release. Other Artisan movies bought by Comedy Central include John Waters’ “Cecil B. Demented” and Jon Favreau’s “Made.”

“Van Wilder” becomes available to Comedy Central in a four-and-a-half-year window beginning in September 2004 following its pay-TV run on Showtime (February 2003 to July 2004), which has a theatrical-output deal with Artisan.

The movie “has a college-frat-boy mentality that appeals to a segment of our audience,” said Kathryn Mitchell, senior VP of programming for Comedy Central.