Spyglass, MRC ink their own deals with WGA

4:00 AM PST 01/15/2008 by Gregg Goldstein, Borys Kit

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Spyglass Entertainment and Media Rights Capital on Monday became the latest companies to sign interim agreements with the WGA, allowing writers to work on productions, effective immediately.

WGA West president Patric Verrone said the MRC agreement is similar to the terms of the Worldwide Pants, United Artists and Weinstein Co. deals with the WGA, which offer writers 2.5% of a distributor's gross for the reuse of television productions online and 2% of a distributor's gross for reuse of theatrical films online.

Additionally, the WGA signed an interim agreement with Spyglass Entertainment, a production company headed by Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber.

The MRC deal is similar to the three previously announced interim contracts in giving writers a minimum for original content made for the Internet, one of MRC's main aims in several deals. MRC and Google made a deal in August to distribute exclusive original digital content from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane online. MacFarlane was instrumental in helping forge the deal, MRC co-CEOs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk said.

MRC recently signed a three-picture distribution deal with Warner Bros. for Richard Kelly's horror film "The Box," starring Cameron Diaz; Robert Rodriguez's family fantasy "Shorts"; and "This Side of the Truth," starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner. The deal between MRC and the WGA will allow any needed rewrites on these projects, which ironically could benefit Warners, one of the major companies targeted by the WGA.

Verrone said that, concerning the Internet part of the deal, MRC is unique among the companies making deals in that it has about a dozen Internet production deals in addition to about 10 feature films and 10 TV series that would fall under the agreement.

Gregg Goldstein reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.
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