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November 5, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: NBC Gets Bravo; and Weekend Box Office

DAILY NEWS: NBC Gets Bravo; and Weekend Box Office



by Eugene Hernandez and Matthew Ross/indieWIRE


>> NBC Acquires Bravo; IFC and Other Networks Remain with Rainbow As Changes Begin


(indieWIRE: 11.05.02) -- After weeks of industry speculation, NBC
announced yesterday an agreement to acquire Bravo from the Cablevision
Systems Corp.
for $1.25 billion. The deal does not include the remainder
of Rainbow Media Holdings, Cablevision's television programming arm
that controlled Bravo and was co-owned by NBC, Cablevision, and MGM.
With the Bravo sale, NBC will no longer have any stake in Rainbow.
The proceeds of the deal will be divided between Cablevision and
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which now own 80 percent and 20 percent of
Rainbow, respectively. The announcement became a reality yesterday as
staffing changes began.


Rainbow holdings include the Independent Film Channel and its IFC
Entertainment
subsidiary, AMC, WE: Women's Entertainment, and other national and regional services. While yesterday's announcement did
not include any word on how the deal would affect staff members at
Rainbow, many of whom have worked jointly on Bravo and other Rainbow
channels, by early Monday afternoon, reports of layoffs and
reassignments began to circulate through the independent film
and media communities. Exact details concerning personnel changes
remain unclear, and representatives from Rainbow, when contacted
yesterday, declined comment.


"Our talented management team at Bravo has created and developed a
first-rate programming service as well as an important and valuable
asset," said Cablevision president and CEO James L. Dolan in the
announcement. "While parting with Bravo is tremendously difficult, we
know of no better new home for the network than with our long-term
partners at NBC. We have no doubt that great things are ahead for
Bravo."


By the end of the day, Cablevision's shares had jumped 16.95 percent
to $11.80. Only six weeks ago, the shares were trading at their 52-week
low of $4.67. Company reps also declined to offer details on the future
of Rainbow's remaining holdings, nor would they indicate when an
announcement would be made. [Matthew Ross]


[DISCLOSURE: indieWIRE LLC publishes IFCRant as a magazine co-venture with
the Independent Film Channel (IFC). IFC is a part of Cablevision's Rainbow
Media Holdings, Inc.]


>> "Frida" and "Columbine" Strong at Limited Box-Office


(indieWIRE: 11.05.02) -- Julie Taymor's "Frida" (from Miramax) remained a hot ticket in limited release this weekend, as did Miramax's "Comedian"
doc and UA's "Bowling for Columbine."


"Frida" earned slightly more than $1 million on 47 screens in its second
weekend, for a strong average of more than $21,000 per screen and a new
cume of more than $1.3 million. Meanwhile, Miramax's release of the Jerry
Seinfeld
doc "Comedian" earned $689,436 on 225 screens for an average of
just over $3,000 and a new more than $1.1 million cume.


An even more successful doc is Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine"
from United Artists. The film earned $1.5 million as it expanded to 162
screens for an terrific average just shy of $10,000. It has earned $4.5
million after four weekends.


Artisan's release of the New York indie film, "Roger Dodger" remained
solid. The film, directed by Dylan Kidd, nabbed $156,755 in 25 theaters
during its second weekend. It had an average of $6,270 per screen and
has earned $221,586 so far. It is expected to add 12 more markets this
weekend.


Newmarket's release of "Real Women Have Curves," the company's first
release, added 13 theaters this weekend and passed the $1 million
mark. The film earned $472,873 on 124 screens for a growing
per-screen average of $3,813 and a new cume of $1.2 million
after three weekends.


From Sony Pictures Classics, "Auto Focus" earned $620,573 in its
expansion to 461 screens. The film had a slow $1,346 average for
a new cume of just over $1 million.


This week, Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven" will hit theaters in
limited release. Focus Features is planning to unveil the picture
on 5 screens in New York and Los Angeles. In a much wider release,
parent Universal Pictures will release Curtis Hanson's "8 Mile"
starring Eminem. It will no doubt be a big hit in its nationwide
debut. [Eugene Hernandez]

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