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VH1 locks up ‘Monster’ for band stand

Cabler tunes up Metallica deal

NEW YORK — VH1 has bought exclusive rights to feature-length docu “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” blowing out the pay-per-view and pay TV windows to snare the movie within nine months of its theatrical release.

The network declined to discuss financial terms, but industry estimates put the license fee at about $500,000 for a four-year contract. “Metallica” is skedded for a commercial-free primetime premiere on VH1 April 9.

Although networks including A&E and Bravo were interested in the rights to “Metallica,” VH1 senior VP of programming strategy Ben Zurier said he’d developed such a strong relationship with the band over the years that Metallica was eager to do the deal.

Metallica signed the VH1 contract even though the four-letter words that fill the soundtrack will be subject to an audio dropout. Zurier said VH1 follows broadcast standards because the network is ad-supported and reaches 87 million households.

Zurier said the documentary may appeal to more women than might be expected because “it tells a story about colleagues and friends and their deep relationships.”

The co-directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (“Paradise Lost”) began working on the docu in 2001 as the performers started the process of writing and recording their new album. But the four members of the band proved to be so dysfunctional, they had to hire a psychologist to deal with the conflicts pulling the group apart.

VH1 sibling Paramount Home Video has separately bought the homevid rights to “Metallica.” When the docu reached videostores last month, VH1 helped to promote it on the air.

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