USA completes trilogy: gets 'Thirteen,' 'Pirates,' 'License'


On the heels of acquiring the third installment in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, USA Network has snapped up cable rights to another "threequel," "Ocean's Thirteen," from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.

The network acquired rights to the movie in a package that also included "License to Wed" and last year's "Blood Diamond." Sources said USA paid just north of $25 million for the package, but both network and distributor declined comment on the financial and other terms of the deal.

fraction hereSources said USA's deals for "License to Wed" and "Blood Diamond" are for four years, while "Ocean's Thirteen" is believed to be a bit longer, roughly a 4 1/2-year deal. "Ocean's Thirteen's" rights kick in in January 2010, while "Blood Diamond" becomes available to USA in May 2009 and "License to Wed" in December 2009, according to sources.

It's believed that WBDCD can carve out broadcast network windows on all three movies as well as second cable windows on "Thirteen" and "Diamond." Oxygen already bought the second cable window to "License."

Jane Blaney, senior vp programming and acquisitions at USA, said she is a fan of "Ocean's Thirteen."

" 'Ocean's Thirteen' is not only a terrific picture on its own, but I can vouch personally for how well it stands up to repeat viewing, having seen it three times myself," she said.

USA does not own rights to the first two "Ocean's" movies. Turner acquired 2001's "Ocean's Eleven," while Oxygen ponied up for 2004's "Ocean's Twelve."

WBDCD president Eric Frankel said that theatrical movies continue to perform well in cable.

"We're happy that USA was paying attention to the terrific numbers that 'Ocean's Eleven' generated on Turner and aggressively reached out for it, as well as 'Blood Diamond' and 'License to Wed,' " he said. "We always love selling to someone who is connected to a studio -- that always makes it a bit harder for us because they frequently license a lot of their own terrific movies first."

"Thirteen," starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon, has raked in $114.5 million at the domestic boxoffice since its June 8 release. "Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, made $57.4 million during its theatrical run. "License," which stars Robin Williams, has brought in $38.5 million since its July 3 release.

USA acquired cable rights to "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" from Disney-ABC Domestic Television in May (HR 6/1). Unlike the "Ocean's" franchise, USA own rights to the two previous "Pirates" films -- 2003's "Curse of the Black Pearl" and 2006's "Dead Man's Chest."