Showtime Networks, rearming after parting ways with three film suppliers, has signed a seven-year deal for up to 95 movies from The Weinstein Co., starting next year with such titles as Nine and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards.
CBS-owned Showtime already had an output deal with Weinstein imprint Dimension Films, which forms part of the new exclusive agreement. Other releases from TWC that will be in the deal include All Good Things, a modern remake of Seventh Samurai, The Alchemist and Panic. Dimension films in the deal mix include a remake of Scanners and Scream 4, the latest in that slasher-film series.
Key suppliers Lionsgate, MGM and Viacom-owned Paramount are moving their product to a new pay-TV channel they’re creating to debut in fall 2009 under former Showtime executive Mark Greenberg. The studios and Showtime parted ways after they were unable to negotiate a new long-term output deal. Showtime retains rights to those studios' films through 2011, the pay network has said.
Showtime in a release said it would also have forthcoming announcements about studio distribution deals and would obtain future movies from CBS Films, in addition to its current emphasis on original series such as The Tudors and Weeds and, increasingly, sports, including the recent acquisition Inside The NFL.
Update: The Hollywood Reporter reported TWC -- which had also been in talks with the new Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM channel -- agreed to make "advance payments" of as much as $100 million to Showtime as part of the deal, likened to a "deposit" against future payments from Showtime in the event TWC doesn't deliver the number or quality of films promised. The Wall Street Journal said the Showtime might pay TWC $500 million to $700 million over the seven years if the films do well at the box office. Showtime declined comment.
Blank said the network is talking to other studios as well to add more movies to its lineup.
“We’re taking our time…we’re good [with prior studio deals] through 2011 and this just adds to that,” he told Multichannel News Monday. “Between this and where CBS Films will be in two years, you’re probably talking 130 movies over that period of time.”
“There’s also a half-a-dozen players knocking at our door, and we live in a world where a lot of big producers out there may be anxious to do deals,” he added, although he would not reveal specific names.
TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in the release: “This long-term strategic partnership is a tremendous initiative for our company and provides our films with a critically important pay-tv home for the next seven years.”
“Showtime is one of the hottest brands in television and we have tremendous respect for Matt Blank and his team's passion, dedication and creativity,” Weinstein’s statement continued. “In this changing media environment, we are thrilled to have now secured distribution for our films across a variety of media, and we look forward to continuing to build our diverse slate and creating movies that will entertain Showtime's audience.”