Bravo applauds weekend movies

Network to premiere films Friday and Saturday

Bravo’s claim to fame is firstrun series on design, fashion and celeb-reality, but the network has carved out a lucrative Friday and Saturday for theatrical library product.

Eleven movies will receive their Bravo premieres this fall, including the first four “Rocky” pictures, “Miss Congeniality 2,” “Bad Boys 2,” “While You Were Sleeping” and “Be Cool.”

Bravo exec veep and g.m. Frances Berwick said the net has set aside Friday and Saturday as its traditional movie nights for years now, but the ratings have increased as Bravo’s overall Nielsens have climbed for firstrun hits like “Project Runway” and “Top Design.”

Movies this summer including “Training Day,” “Thelma & Louise” and “Brokeback Mountain” have scared up 24% more adults 18-34 than Bravo pics did during the third quarter last year.

For the year to date, the cabler’s Friday-Saturday primetime movie lineup has lured 13% more adults 18-49 than in the first eight months of 2007. Even latenight pic showings are packing them in: “Legally Blonde” harvested 966,000 total viewers on Aug. 23, making it the most watched latenight-movie telecast in Bravo’s history.

Another sign that its audience is a natural for theatricals came to light in an IAG Research survey this year, which elevated Bravo to No. 1 among all broadcast and cable networks for viewer recall of movie titles.

Although about 60% of people watching Bravo’s firstrun reality shows are women, the net has scheduled a mix of movies with strong male appeal in the fourth quarter, including “48 Hrs.,” “Hannibal,” “Heat,” “Lethal Weapon 2” and “Lost World.”

But movies to which women will gravitate still predominate. Fall premieres include “Love Actually,” “City of Angels,” “Meet Joe Black” and “Patch Adams.” Other fall pictures are “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Serendipity,” “Crossroads,” “Notting Hill” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”