USA Network acquires TV premiere rights to Universal Pictures’ 2009 slate

MUMBAI: USA Network has acquired the exclusive network television premiere rights to the 2009 Universal Pictures’ film slate.

The deal is considered to be one of the largest of its kind between a film studio and basic cable network. The package includes Universal’s biggest tent pole movies for 2009 with some of the most commercially viable film properties attached to the slate.

"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 USA Network executive vice president, programming, acquisitions & scheduling Jane Blaney.

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution executive vice president/general sales manager Frances Manfredi added, "USA Network clearly understands the significance of a strong theatrical line-up 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."

"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 Universal Pictures vice chairman and Universal Studios executive vice president Rick Finkelstein.

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.

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