Spyglass inks Italo TV deal

Pact with RTI will bring pics to the small screen

Spyglass Entertainment has entered into a free-television deal with RTI, the television arm of Italy’s Mediaset, the largest private communications and broadcasting company in Italy. RTI runs three television networks that compete directly with the state-run network RAI.

The four-year pact grants distribution rights for free television broadcast of several Spyglass motion pictures, including “Memoirs of a Geisha,” a co-production with Sony and DreamWorks, directed by Rob Marshall and produced by Steven Spielberg; and “The Legend of Zorro,” another Sony/DreamWorks co-production starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas.

Spyglass co-financed and is handling foreign distribution on both pics through its non-exclusive, first-look production deal with Sony’s Columbia Pictures.

Last month Spyglass pacted a similar multi-window output deal with France’s Canal Plus.

RTI has handled Spyglass’ previous motion pictures, including box office hits “The Sixth Sense” and “Bruce Almighty.”

“We are thrilled to be partnered with such a diverse organization as RTI and their talented management team,” said Spyglass co-chairmen/CEOs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum. “The platform of three different networks serving three different audiences will provide a free television portal for a wide variety of Spyglass films.”

Faruk A. Alatan, film acquisitions adviser of RTI, negotiated and finalized the deal with Spyglass.

Spyglass was founded in 1998 by Birnbaum and Barber. Its recent films include Disney’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which grossed $21 million when it opened this past weekend, and “The Pacifier,” which has grossed more than $120 million worldwide.