BET Networks and The Weinstein Company Agree to Multi-Picture, First Window Film Package
Deal Includes 'The Great Debaters,' 'The Longshots,' 'Soul Men,' and
NEW YORK, Oct. 22 -- BET Networks and The Weinstein
Company (TWC) today announced that they have reached an agreement for a
film package that includes the first network-window premiere rights to a
multi-picture package of theatrical films - the company's first foray into
the network window business with TWC. The announcement was made by Lee
Solomon, chief operating officer for TWC, and Stephen G. Hill, executive
vice president of music programming & talent and interim head of
entertainment for BET Networks.
As part of the agreement, BET Networks has acquired the first position
network-window rights to the full-length theatrical feature "The
Longshots," and soon-to-be-released films "Soul Men" and "Hurricane
Season," as well as a portion of the network window rights to "The Great
Debaters" starring Denzel Washington. The upcoming release of "Soul Men"
stars Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac as a formerly popular
singing duo who go on a road trip to perform together one last time at the
Apollo Theater. "Hurricane Season" is based on a true story about a high
school basketball coach played by Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker in
post-Katrina New Orleans, who pulls together a team and a community.
"We're excited to start this new relationship with BET," said Solomon.
"These are great films that should be seen by the widest possible audience
and have found a perfect home with BET."
"BET Networks is thrilled to enter into this partnership with The
Weinstein Company and their strong slate of films," said Hill. "Movies
perform exceptionally well on our network, and with the addition of
compelling and entertaining Weinstein films, we are confident that we will
be giving our audience more of what they want."
In addition to acquiring the first position network-window for "Soul
Men" and "Hurricane Season," BET Networks will also be a promotional
partner on both pictures. BET's 106 & Park will broadcast the show from the
red carpet premiere of "Soul Men" at the Apollo Theater on Tuesday, October
28, and will re-name the show "106 & Soul Men" for the night. For
"Hurricane Season," BET will be airing a primetime special from John Ehret
High School in Marrero, LA featuring a town hall discussion with students,
real players, actors from the film and the filmmakers.
David Spiegelman, president of domestic TV and distribution, negotiated
the film sales package on behalf of TWC, and Barbara Zaneri, long-time
consultant to BET Networks, negotiated on behalf of BET.
Descriptions of the four films follow:
THE GREAT DEBATERS
Inspired by a true story, "The Great Debaters", the movie chronicles
the journey of professor Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington), a brilliant but
volatile debate team coach, who uses the power of words to shape a group of
underdog students from a small African American college in the deep South
into a historically elite debate team.
Based on a true story, a poor Illinois town comes together behind the
local Pop Warner football team and their unlikely quarterback, Jasmine
Plummer (Keke Palmer), the first female in Pop Warner's history. Under the
tutelage of her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube), a former high school football
star, Jasmine leads her team, the Minden Browns, to the Pop Warner Super
Bowl and inspires the town of Minden, Illinois to reclaim some of its
Superstars Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac are "Soul Men" - the
hilarious story of Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac), a
popular singing duo back in the day, who went their separate ways and never
spoke again. When the death of their former group leader (John Legend)
reunites them and sends them driving cross country for a tribute concert at
the legendary Apollo Theater, they will have only five days to bury the
hatchet on a 20-year-old grudge.
Based on an inspirational and exciting true story, "Hurricane Season"
will define what it means to be a patriot. A month after Hurricane Katrina,
Louisiana high-school basketball coach Al Collins (Oscar winner Forest
Whitaker) assembles a team of players from five different schools and leads
this unlikely group of survivors all the way to the state championships
About The Weinstein Company
The Weinstein Company (TWC) was created by Bob and Harvey Weinstein,
brothers who founded Miramax Films Corporation in 1979. TWC is a
multi-media company that officially launched on October 1, 2005. Dimension
Films, the genre label that was founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, is also
included under the TWC banner.
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the
nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public
affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The
primary BET channel reaches more than 87 million households according to
Nielsen Media Research, and can be seen in the U.S., Canada and the
Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a
diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading internet
destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital
Networks - BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for
cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale
event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a
collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs
and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video
content for wireless devices; and BET International, an extension of BET
network programming for global distribution.