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FX Acquires TV Rights to Films

Aug 29, 2005  •  Post A Comment

FX has acquired first-run commercial television rights to a package of 12 films from sister News Corp. company 20th Century Fox that includes the hits “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “Fantastic Four.”

The movies will become available to the cable network in 2006 and 2007. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but based on the $800 million total box office take for the films, industry executives estimate FX paid at least $70 million for the bundle.

The Fox films are the latest in a series of recent purchases that make FX one of the leaders in televising top drama and action-adventure pictures. Other upcoming films for 2006 and 2007 on FX include “Spider-Man 2,” “The Aviator,” “Ray,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Constantine,” “The Last Samurai,” “Terminator 3,” “Troy” and “DodgeBall.”

“Look at the scope of these titles. They give us a chance to hit all ends of the 18- to 49-year-old demographic spectrum and still be on target with our brand, so these will complement our strong lineup of original programming,” said Chuck Saftler, senior VP of programming and acquisition for FX Networks.

“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” drew extra attention this summer because of the tabloid-fodder real-life romance between its stars, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It has earned $183 million at the box office. “Fantastic Four,” based on the Marvel comic book, featured Michael Chiklis, Emmy-winning star of the FX drama “The Shield.” It drew $150 million at the box office.

The other films acquired by FX from Fox include “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Fever Pitch,” “Robots,” “Hide and Seek,” “Elektra,” “Taxi” and “Sideways.”

Though FX and 20th Century Fox are both part of News Corp., the studio has been known to sell its movies to other cable networks. Turner Broadcasting, for example, acquired Fox films, including “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Stuck on You” and “Runaway Jury.”

And while FX buys films from other studios as well, the movies in this package are expected to fit well with its brand identity, pull strong ratings and support its original programming.

In other movie news, ABC acquired the first broadcast rights to show Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” for three years beginning in 2008. TNT gets the film for the next two years. Studio DreamWorks SKG reportedly will receive $25 million for the rights.