Gate pix open for syndie

Tube vets will pitch titles to TV stations at NATPE

Lions Gate Entertainment has signed independent TV syndicators Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein to distribute 31 theatrical movies, led by “The Punisher,” “Open Water” and “Dirty Dancing Havana Nights.”

Under the umbrella of Marcus’ Debmar Studios, the two syndie veterans will start pitching the movies to TV stations at this week’s National Assn. of TV Program Executives meeting in Las Vegas.

Debmar is selling the Lions Gate titles in a cash package, offering up to two-thirds of the titles for scheduling over a three-year period starting this fall. Stations get multiple runs of each title for an 18-month window.

Lions Gate contract is the fourth major deal for syndicated product engineered by Debmar over the last two years. Two of the others are reruns of TV series that premiered on cable: “South Park” (off Comedy Central) and “Farscape” (off Sci Fi Channel). The third is a theatrical output pact for the inventory of Revolution Studios through the end of 2006.

Bernstein was prexy of worldwide TV distribution for Lions Gate Entertainment from May 2001-March 2004, and he continues as a consultant to the company.

Other titles in the Lions Gate package, dubbed LGF Premier 1, include “Confidence” (starring Dustin Hoffman), “Godsend” (Robert De Niro), “The Arrival” (Charlie Sheen), “Wise Girls” (Mira Sorvino), “Held Up” (Jamie Foxx), “Ticker” (Steven Seagal), “Replicant” (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and “Boat Trip” (Cuba Gooding Jr.).