Epix drives to Roadside Attractions

Pay cable channel to carry 'Cove,' 'Terra'

Epix, the nascent pay cable channel backed by Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate, has signed a pic output agreement with indie distrib Roadside Attractions.

Pact calls for Epix to carry as many as 22 Roadside titles set for theatrical release between now and 2011. Titles included in the deal are recently released thriller “The Cove,” as well as upcoming drama “From Mexico With Love” and animated adventure “Battle for Terra.”

Deal is a sign that the Epix partners are committed to launching a linear and online pay service as planned in October. There’s been much skepticism in the biz because the company has yet to announce any carriage agreements with major cable operators or satellite TV providers. Epix’s only confirmed carriage deal so far is with Verizon’s FiOS TV service, which reaches only about 2.5 million homes (Daily Variety, July 29).

Execs involved with Epix maintain that negotiations continue with larger distribution partners. Epix, headed by CEO Mark Greenberg, intends to launch a traditional TV channel with movies and some original programming, as well as an online service offering on-demand access to its programming.

Roadside co-prexy Howard Cohen said the deal with Epix would help make Roadside a stronger draw for indie filmmakers.

“At a time of great contraction in the indie world, having this guaranteed outlet for our films across multiple platforms, I believe, will make Roadside an even more attractive home for filmmakers,” Cohen said.

In addition to its equity partners, Epix has a pic licensing pact with Samuel Goldwyn Films.

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