FX Snags ‘Transformers’ Sequel in Paramount Deal

FX and Paramount Pictures have an agreement that will bring Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is nominated for the best picture Oscar, to the cable network, according to people familiar with the deal.

The Transformers sequel (see trailer below), scheduled to premiere in theaters in June, is the only pre-buy in the multi-film package, with the other movies being primarily 2008 releases.

Other titles in the package include Cloverfield, Tropic Thunder, Eagle Eye and Beowulf, as well as some smaller-name add-on films.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will be available to the network at the end of 2011, with most of the other movies available beginning in 2010.

HBO has the pay-cable window for Transformers, Tropic Thunder and Eagle Eye, while soon-to-launch pay-TV network Epix will carry Cloverfield and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Paramount is a partner in Epix and will be giving the pay channel its movie slate going forward. Some of Paramount's titles in the FX deal were co-productions with DreamWorks, which has a separate deal with HBO.

The pact includes carve-outs, allowing Paramount to sell rights to a broadcast network within the FX window.

Representatives for FX and Paramount declined to comment.

But insiders say the deal is structured as a typical pre-buy package deal. That means for Transformers, the amount FX will pay is based on a sliding scale dependent on box office returns, usually capped at a certain amount.

The new acquisitions join a long list of theatricals that FX has bought in the last year. Among the already-acquired flicks are Iron Man, Hancock, The Incredible Hulk, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, Baby Mama and TheInternational.

USA was interested in acquiring Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, but shifted its focus after FX outbid it. Last week the network inked a nine-figure deal for most of Universal Pictures' 2009 slate, including Land of the Lost and Bruno.