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FX lands ‘Spider-Man 3’

Network weaves deal for Sony webslinger

FX has elbowed out TNT/TBS, USA and Spike to land exclusive rights to “Spider-Man 3,” which could end up funneling more than $40 million into the Sony coffers for the network window.

The final license fee depends on how much money “Spider-Man 3” chalks up in U.S. theaters.

If the domestic gross shoots up to $400 million or more, FX could pay up to $33 million. In addition, FX’s five-year deal allows Sony to carve out three separate windows within the FX license term to sell the picture to one or more broadcast networks, which could pony up another $7 million to $10 million for “Spider-Man 3.” Sony and FX declined to comment on the deal.

The deal reinforces the programming strategy of FX, which steers clear of rerun hours like “CSI” and “Law & Order” and fills its schedule with mostly action-oriented theatricals. Movies like “Spider-Man 3” harvest lots of viewers, particularly the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 demo; the pictures act as promotional tools to drive audiences to the network’s original primetime series like “The Riches,” “Dirt” and “Nip/Tuck.”

FX gets its first batch of “Spider-Man 3” runs in 2009. FX previously locked up exclusive network-window rights to “Spider-Man 2,” which harvested more than 1-million people 18 to 49 when the network ran it in primetime on April 30. (TNT and its TBS sibling own the original “Spider-Man.”).

The pickup of “Spider-Man 3” adds to a formidable lineup of FX exclusives through the end of the decade and beyond. Among FX’s titles are “Night at the Museum,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “The Departed,” “Superman Returns” and “Click.” FX has also bought a second window, following TNT’s, to “The Da Vinci Code.”

By relying on movies and original scripted series, FX has rocketed to fourth place in primetime among all ad-supported networks in the first quarter with P18-49 (behind USA, TBS and TNT) and with P18-34 (behind USA, TBS and MTV). FX finished eighth in total primetime viewers during the first quarter.

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