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Sci Fi sees ‘Saw,’ other Lions Gate pix

Channel to pay $12 mil for pix

The Sci Fi Channel has bought exclusive cable-TV rights to eight movies from Lions Gate Entertainment for a total license fee of about $12 million.

About half of the money will go to one title, the surprise 2004 hit “Saw,” a horror thriller with Cary Elwes and Danny Glover, which cost only about $1.2 million to make and racked up $55.2 million in U.S. theaters. “Saw 2” opens in theaters later this month.

Sci Fi will lay out another $2.3 million for “Cabin Fever,” a $21.1-million U.S. grosser, about five young college friends whose vacation in the woods gets interrupted by an inconvenient flesh-eating virus.

Two other theatrical titles in the mix are “Alone in the Dark,” with Christian Slater and Tara Reid, and “House of the Dead.” Four of the pictures went straight to video: “Monster Man,” “Rottweiler,” “Leprechaun 3” and “Leprechaun 4: In Space.”

Sci Fi gets multiple runs of each title over a four-year license term. The four video titles are available this year. Availability dates for the others are: “House of the Dead,” April 2006; “Cabin Fever,” August 2006; “Saw,” March 2007; and “Alone in the Dark,” June 2007.

Tom Vitale, senior VP of programming for Sci Fi Channel, said the Lions Gate movies will help complement the network’s strategy of commissioning more than 20 original movies every year, which premiere in a Saturday showcase that draws some of Sci Fi’s highest Nielsen ratings.

Engineering the deal for Lions Gate Entertainment was Rand Stoll, the company’s executive VP of TV sales.

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