9 M’max pix to cable net

Network pays $8 mil for license fee

ABC Family has followed up its purchase of the cable-TV rights to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” last month with a pickup of nine Miramax titles led by “Good Will Hunting,” “Muriel’s Wedding” and “40 Days and 40 Nights.”

Total license fee for the package was a modest $8 million, but ABC Family is getting many of the pics in short windows, some for only a year or less.

The one Miramax title that ABC Family gets exclusively as a network-window premiere for three years is “A View From the Top,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow, which managed to scrape up only a disappointing $15.6 million in U.S. theaters. But the movie, which kicks off on ABC Family in September 2005, fits the network’s newly formulated brand of lighthearted entertainment appealing to kids, teens and adults.

Miramax chief operating officer Rick Sands said that ABC Family’s status as a sister company within Disney had little bearing on the deal. ABC Family cherrypicked titles from Miramax’s inventory just the way the NBC-owned Bravo did in a movie deal put together last month, he added.

ABC Family exec VP Tom Cosgrove confirmed that he’s out in the marketplace searching all of the studios for movies to fill the net’s ravenous appetite. Its showcase is a nightly primetime movie.

Most general-entertainment cable networks schedule lots of movies in primetime, resulting in the phenomenon of short-window strategies by the studios to keep product flowing through the cable pipeline, both in basic and pay. The benefit to the net is that shorter windows mean smaller license fees.

The other Miramax titles in the ABC Family deal are “Boys & Girls,” “Get Over It,” “On the Line,” “Serendipity” and “Swingers.”

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