USA buys rights to 11 Uni films


Related story: 'Bourne Ultimatum' chases down $70.2 million

USA Network has snapped up cable rights to Universal Pictures' "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" as part of an 11-picture deal with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

The deal also includes the theatrical titles "The Hitcher," "Alpha Dog," "Smokin' Aces," "Children of Men," "The Good Shepherd," "Breach," "Ali G Indahouse," "The Interpreter" and "Man of the Year."

"Bourne," starring Matt Damon, was released Friday and made $69.3 million during the weekend. "Chuck," which stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James, has made $91.8 million at the domestic boxoffice since its July 20 bow.

Sources said USA -- which, like the distributor and film studio, is owned by NBC Universal -- paid about $60 million for the package, with "Bourne" and "Chuck" accounting for $35 million-$40 million of that total. The network and distributor declined comment on the financial and other terms of the deal.

It's believed that the deals for "Bourne" and "Chuck" are 41?2-year agreements, with NBC Universal allowed to carve out broadcast windows for both titles. In addition, the distributor will be allowed to carve out second cable windows, though USA has exclusive rights to both titles for the first two years of the deals, according to sources.

USA's rights to "Chuck" kick in in December 2009, while the "Bourne" rights become available in January 2010.

USA also has rights to the first installment in the "Bourne" franchise -- "The Bourne Identity" -- but Turner has rights to the second, "The Bourne Supremacy."

"Identity" airings perform well for USA. The most recent -- just last week -- averaged 2.6 million total viewers Thursday, making it basic cable's No. 2 program of the night behind USA's drama series "Burn Notice." It also helped boost "Burn Notice" to a series-high 4.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

USA has been on a buying spree this summer. "Bourne Ultimatum" marks the latest "threequel" acquired by the network, following such recent acquisitions as "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" from Disney-ABC Domestic Television in May and a package of movies that included "Ocean's Thirteen" from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution last month. The Warners package also included rights to "Blood Diamond" and "License to Wed."

"Ali G," marks USA's second recent acquisition starring Sacha Baron Cohen. The network also acquired rights to 20th Century Fox's "Borat" in the spring.