Updated: Summit Deal Brings ‘Twilight’ to Showtime

Showtime has inked a deal with Summit Entertainment that secures the rights to up to 42 theatrical releases and gives the network another lynchpin in its effort to rebuild its movie library. 

The premium network in April elected not to renew output deals with Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate over what it said were exorbitant license fee demands. Some of the funds have been earmarked for increased investments in continued original series development and marketing initiatives. In turn, those studios decided to take their films to a new premium cable channel of their own.

The Summit deal provides Showtime with up to 42 theatrical releases between 2008 and 2012, including rights to this year’s hit vampire-romance film Twilight and all future installments of the Twilight franchise.

In July, Showtime also signed a deal with the Weinstein Company that will give it access to another 95 movies.

“Between the Weinstein Company, Summit, CBS Films, and the fact that we’ll be playing the Paramount and MGM films through 2010 and into 2011, we’re going to have a lot of movies over the next few years to fill up our schedule, including big box office hits like Twilight,” Showtime president Matt Blank (pictured) told Multichannel News

In addition to films from the Twilight franchise, Summit has several other key movie releases set for 2009 and beyond, including Knowing, directed by Alex Proyas (I Robot, The Crow) and starring Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage; Push, starring Chris Evans and two-time Oscar nominee Dakota Fanning; Next Day Air featuring Donald Faison, Mos Def, and Mike Epps; Bandslam starring Vanessa Hudgens, Alyson Michalka, and Lisa Kudrow; and Sorority Row, with Rumer Willis and Briana Evigan.

Rob Friedman, Summit Entertainment’s co-chairman and CEO told Multichannel News that the pay service  has done a great job building a lineup of must-see destination original content. 

"I thought their approach to our product from an marketing and promotional perspective was very exciting and they’re excited about having our product,” Friedman said. “I think we’ll be a valuable content provider for them and therefore it felt like a really good relationship.”

Neither Blank nor Friedman would reveal specifics of the deal, but Blank said the financial agreement benefits both parties.

“The prices are great for Summit, but also recognize the changes in the marketplace and are a more reasonable measure of the value of these films,” he said.

R. Thomas Umstead contributed to this story.