AMC Inks Two Film Deals

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Bolstering its roster of movies spanning the last half-century of cinema, AMC has inked a deal for a collection of John Wayne films and jumped through an earlier viewing window via a pact with Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.

The agreement for 22 Warner Bros. titles -- including this month’s Batman Begins, Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby, The Last Samurai, Mystic River, Alexander and Troy -- will let AMC premiere many of the films immediately after they emerge from the pay TV window.

First up: Two Weeks Notice, starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock and bowing June 12, 13 and 14 as part of a three-play burst.

AMC will also bow Insomnia in August, The In-Laws in November and Terminator 3 in January.

Sources valued the final cost of the Warner deal -- which, in some cases, covers up to a four-year period -- at somewhere north of $80 million.

Oxygen, through a deal cut with Warner Bros. Domestic Cable last December, also holds the rights to a number of these films, a network official said. Murder by Numbers premiered in February, with the next set of titles becoming available to the women’s-targeted network in 2006.

AMC also inked an exclusive agreement with Paramount Pictures for 32 Wayne films, including digitally remastered editions of The High and the Mighty and Island in the Sky -- movies that haven’t aired on TV in 25 years, according to AMC officials.

The agreements underscore the commitment AMC has made to expand its palette of films, which have grown beyond vintage titles to include more contemporary ones -- a gambit that has lifted the network’s ratings.

For more on AMC, please see Mike Reynolds’ story on page 23 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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