TNT spears '300' for basic cable
EmptyTNT has snapped up rights to the theatrical "300" from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.
As part of the deal, the cable network gets the basic-cable premiere for the movie, which it can begin airing in September 2009.
TNT has a three-year window in which to air the film, though sources indicated that the window is not a concurrent run but rather spread out over five or six years, meaning that the distributor can find a second cable or broadcast network buyer for the movie during windows around TNT's license term.
"300," adapted from a Frank Miller graphic novel, became a surprise blockbuster upon its release this year, earning $70 million during its opening weekend — a new March record. It has earned a total of $210.6 million at the domestic boxoffice since its March 9 release.
Both network and distributor declined comment on the financial terms of the deal, but sources said that the network paid just south of $20 million for the movie.
WBDCD president Eric Frankel said there was interest from "a number of" cable networks but that TNT's offer was "the most favorable for us."
"300," which stars Gerard Butler, is based on the story of Sparta's King Leonidas and his 300 warriors battling the massive Persian army in the Battle of Thermopylae. Frankel added that the R-rated film's violence didn't raise any red flags during the selling process.
"(After licensing rights to) thousands of movies, we've never had a movie that couldn't play successfully on broadcast or cable, and we don't expect this to be an exception," he said. "It's a great action picture and a huge boxoffice hit that we believe will have the ability to repeat and generate strong numbers."