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Canal’s dream deal

Gallic paybox lands pix plan with D'Works

PARIS — DreamWorks has reupped a multiyear output deal with Gallic paybox Canal Plus.

Deal gives Canal Plus pay TV and pay-per-view rights to 40 features produced by DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation over the next four to five years.

For the first time, deal also includes second-window rights to films directed by Steven Spielberg and animated films.

Upcoming pics include the 3-D toon “Madagascar,” to be released Stateside May 27; Spielberg’s Paramount co-produced “War of the Worlds,” to be released June 29; and “Just Like Heaven,” the in-production adaptation of Gallic scribe Marc Levy’s bestselling novel “If Only It Were True,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo.

France’s leading pay TV operator also is finalizing a deal for five features produced by the Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios.

At a press conference trumpeting the deals, Canal Plus Group exec VP Rodolphe Belmer insisted the paybox still beat rival Gallic platform TPS in the movie stakes.

TPS, owned by commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6, grabbed turf from Canal Plus last year when it pacted with Warner Bros., formerly the market leader’s longtime partner. After losing French first-division soccer to Canal Plus’ record-breaking $781 million bid recently, TPS said it would focus more on movies.

But on Tuesday, Belmer asserted that “89% of the most successful films in France last year will air first on Canal Plus.”

The topper calculated that via its various output deals, including recently renewed pacts with Universal and Fox, Canal Plus would this year air two-thirds of the Hollywood movies sold to France, compared with “a quarter” for TPS and the rest on France’s terrestrial channels.

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