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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 10:37 GMT
Star Wars strikes $15m TV deal
Clones was released last summer
US TV network HBO has paid $15m (9.4m) for the pay-TV rights to the recent Star Wars film Attack of the Clones.

The deal gives the network rights to show the film exclusively from this summer in the US for 18 months.

After this period, the film will be available to regular broadcast and cable TV outlets in the US for four years, before reverting back to HBO for a further period.

Industry daily Variety also reports the deal also gives HBO rights to show the previous Star Wars films, and gives it first call on the final film, Episode III.

But the figure is much less than the $80m (50m) Fox paid out for the rights to the first prequel, The Phantom Menace.

That figure was so high because Fox, as one of the established networks, agreed to cover the money Lucasfilm would have made if the film had been sold to a pay-TV station.

It also got the film just 18 months after it was released, for a 10-year period.

Box office hits

The deal now means HBO has the US rights to many of 2002's box office hits, like Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Scooby-Doo, and Minority Report.

US TV companies are now paying less for film rights because of falling ratings for big movies.

Variety reports that Star Wars producer Lucasfilm tried to strike a pay-TV deal last year, but was told the price was too high.

20th Century Fox, which distributes the film to US cinemas, was called in and eventually struck the deal with HBO.



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