NBC Universal is on both sides of this deal as USA Networks has licensed Universal Pictures’ 2009 film slate for exclusive network television premiere rights. It’s being called one of the largest deals ever between a film studio and a basic cable network.
"This deal is the most ambitious movie acquisition to date for USA. To partner with Universal makes it a win-win across NBCU platforms, while complementing USA’s brand strategy with an A-list talent roster with a proven track record on the network, including Adam Sandler, Matt Damon and Johnny Depp," said Jane Blaney, executive vice president, programming, acquisitions & scheduling, USA Network.
"USA Network clearly understands the significance of a strong theatrical lineup on its overall network performance. We applaud USA for its vision and aggressive film acquisition strategy. This year’s Universal Pictures’ slate features many amazing projects with some of the most prominent actors and directors in the business,” added Frances Manfredi, executive vice president/general sales manager, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.
"I am extremely pleased that we will be working with USA to bring Universal’s 2009 films to viewers across the country. The deal announced today is a testament to the continued success we’ve had at the box office in the last few years and the 2009 slate will offer something for everyone," said Rick Finkelstein, vice chairman, Universal Pictures and executive vice president, Universal Studios.
In the deal, USA Network will receive two dozen of the studios’ films, most of which are slated for the 2009 calendar year, including such titles as "Duplicity" with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, "Fast & Furious" with Vin Diesel, "State of Play" with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, "Land of the Lost" with Will Ferrell, "Public Enemies" with Johnny Depp, "Funny People" with Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, "Couples Retreat" with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, "The Wolfman" with Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, "Green Zone" (working title) with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear and the upcoming untitled Nancy Meyers film with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Other titles include, "Atonement" with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, "Away We Go" with John Krasinski and Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Boat That Rocked" with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emma Thompson, "Cirque du Freak" with Salma Hayek and Jane Krakowski, Sam Raimi’s "Drag Me to Hell," "Flash of Genius" with Greg Kinnear, "Frost/Nixon" with Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, "The Limits of Control" with Bill Murray and John Hurt, "Milk" with Sean Penn and Josh Brolin, Ethan and Joel Cohen’s "A Serious Man," "Taking Woodstock" with Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber, "Traveling" with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart, and "9" with Elijah Wood and John C. Reilly.