Comedy will carry ‘Scary’

Laffer net, Spike clinch 6-pic Weinstein deal

Comedy Central has grabbed broadcast/cable-premiere rights to “Scary Movie 4” as part of a six-pic deal with the Weinstein Co. that includes a pre-buy of “Sin City II” by Comedy sibling Spike TV.

Beyond “Scary Movie 4,” Comedy Central will eventually get three Weinstein Co. movies that won’t reach theaters until later this year: “Clerks II”; “Fast Track,” starring Zach Braff and Amanda Peet; and “School for Scoundrels,” starring Billy Bob Thornton.

In addition to “Sin City II,” Spike has bought the broadcast/cable premiere of “Lucky Number Slevin.”

The parties declined to discuss dollar figures, mainly because the tally depends on how well the movies perform at the box office.

TWC hopes to pocket about 12% of the domestic B.O. of these movies, which is why it has carved out windows in all of the titles for sale to another cable network within Comedy Central’s license term.

If “Scary 4” grosses more than $100 million at the box office, the Weinstein Co. should score at least $12 million from Comedy Central and another net (or even two others; there are two separate carve-outs). Comedy Central would pay well over half of the license fee because it’s getting the first burst of runs.

TBS bought the premiere runs of the three previous “Scary Movie” titles, sharing the pics with Comedy Central, which picked up runs toward the tail end of TBS’ network-window contract.

One reason Comedy Central outbid TBS for the premiere of “Scary 4” is that in 2009, the year “Scary 4” kicks off on the laff net, it will have the right to play the three previous titles in a four-movie marathon.

Comedy Central also gets the premiere of “Clerks II” and “Fast Track” but will give the Weinstein Co. the right to sell the premiere of “School for Scoundrels” to another cabler, with Comedy coming later in the contract.

Another aspect of the Weinstein Co. deal is the unusual number of pre-buys to which Comedy Central and Spike TV committed. Pre-buys went out of vogue a couple of years ago, when the business of movie sales to cable TV began to soften, resulting in a buyers’ market.

But earlier this year, FX bought “Superman Returns” six months before its theatrical debut, and Sony Pictures TV is fielding cable-network offers for “The Da Vinci Code” in advance of its kickoff in the multiplexes.