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Copyright 2001

[ June 22nd 2001 ]

After making a splash at the boxoffice last weekend, Lara Croft is ready to kick some butt for Turner Broadcasting Systems. The cable company is in final negotiations to acquire the television rights to a package of seven Paramount Pictures movies that includes current boxoffice champ "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" as well as "Save the Last Dance," "Along Came a Spider," "Down to Earth," "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles," Paramount/Mandalay Pictures' "Enemy at the Gates" and Paramount Classics' "The Gift," sources said.

The licensing fee that Turner will end up paying for the package will depend on the final boxoffice tally for Paramount/Mutual Film Co.'s "Tomb Raider," but sources estimate that the deal could be worth $45 million-$50 million. The current boxoffice total of all the movies in the package is about $370 million, with the teenage dance love story "Last Dance" contributing $91 million; "Spider," Morgan Freeman's sequel to "Kiss the Girls," netting $73 million; and "Earth," the Chris Rock-starring remake of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," grossing $64 million.

The Angelina Jolie starrer "Tomb Raider" opened with impressive $47.7 million last weekend. On "Tomb Raider" and some of the other big titles in the package, Turner's TNT and TBS might take the second window, with a broadcast network getting first crack at the movies. There has been some interest from the broadcast networks toward "Tomb Raider," but there are no active negotiations going on, sources said. Broadcast networks have been increasingly cautious lately about shelling out big licensing fees for theatrical movies, which have been on a downswing in the ratings. The earliest title in the group, the Keanu Reeves-starrer "Gift" will be available to TNT and TBS in August 2003, and the most recent, "Tomb Raider," will be available in February 2004.

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