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FX Buys TV Rights For Twilight Saga

sg_twilightCable channel FX is still on the warpath for landing TV rights for popular feature films and it doesn’t get much more popular right now than the Twilight saga.

FX has acquired the ad-supported TV rights to the four Twilight movies (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) in a package deal with its studio Summit Entertainment. The package also includes summer Oscar hopeful The Hurt Locker, the Nicolas Cage dirge Knowing and the marginal action movie Push.

The cable channel will start airing the first movie in the series, last year’s Twilight starting in late 2011. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which shattered box-office projections and records and opened at $142.8 million domestically this past weekend, will be available in late 2012 while Eclipse, which will hit theaters on June 30th, will premiere on FX in early 2013.

Though Summit has yet to officially greenlight Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in the series from author Stephanie Meyer, its production is seen as a forgone conclusion. The only debate for Summit Entertainment is whether to split the book into two movies or cram it into a single feature.

All seven films are set to go to FX after completing their pay-cable term on premium cable ShowTime. The channel signed on for a four-year output deal with Summit.

For those wondering how much cable channels pay for TV rights on theatrical releases, here’s how it goes: the license fee for the movies is based on their North American box-office performance. If the third and fourth Twilight movies do well, and they should, and each reach the $200 million benchmark domestically, FX could wind up paying close to $100 million for the films. For big titles, ad-supported networks usually pay 12% of the domestic tally and as much as $24 million “if the movie’s receipts total crosses $200 million.”

The Twilight Saga: New Moon grossed $72.7 million on Friday, according to estimates from Summit Entertainment, shattering The Dark Knight’s previous opening-day record of $67.2 million.

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