Showtime Fortifies Film Base Through Output Deal With DreamWorks Studios

Showtime continues to rebuild its theatrical base, picking up the rights to Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios in a major acquisition for the pay TV service.

In another deal, DreamWorks parent Walt Disney Inc. signed a long-term renewal agreement with Starz LLC to keep Disney Studios live-action and animated feature films on its Starz, Encore and MoviePlex linear channels, as well as making the titles available through its on-demand and online platforms.

Financial terms of both deals were not released.

Showtime will air 35 of DreamWorks Studios' films to be theatrically released between 2010 and 2015, said Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Black, and Janice Marinelli, president of Disney-ABC Domestic Television, which negotiated the deal. Titles set to appear on Showtime as part of the deal include the 2011 action/drama Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman.

The DreamWorks deal is a major coup for Showtime, which is continuing to stock up on movie titles after studios Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate left the pay service to create the Epix network. The network has also reached distribution deals with Summit Films, the producer of the Twilight franchise, The Weinstein Company and CBS Films.

"We are very pleased to be in business with The Walt Disney Company in bringing us theatrical films from DreamWorks," said Blank in a statement. "We expect a great supply of high-profile commercially successful films from Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider and their wonderful team. Combined with our current supply of theatrical titles, our subscribers will enjoy a diverse slate of films for years to come."

HBO will still air movies from DreamWorks Animations, makers of the Shrek series, as part of a multi-year deal, according to network officials.

Starz decided not to include DreamWorks in its Disney Studios renewal deal, feeling that it had enough quality titles through its various other deals, Bill Myers, Starz Entertainment president and COO told Multichannel News.

"We've always liked the content we've been getting from Disney and it's been a nice fit," Myers said. "As we looked at that relative to our mix of content and our movement into the original space, we didn't see the need to add those titles at this point in time."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.