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Epix Promises ‘Blockbuster’ Weekend Launch Lineup

12 Oct, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Epix, the high-definition pay-TV and online streaming channel co-owned by Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount Studios, said it would help jumpstart the service’s launch Oct. 30 on Verizon FiOS featuring a slate of movies with a global box office of $2.5 billion.

The service will debut with TV and online premieres of an exclusive two-hour concert, Madonna: Sticky & Sweet — Live from Buenos Aires, Marvel’s Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr., and comedy special Eddie Izzard: Live From Wembley.

Other titles include Oscar-winner The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail, family film Pink Panther 2, Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Cloverfield and The Duchess, among others.

Madonna’s concert tour generated 3.5 million ticket sales and $408 million in revenue (the highest ever for a solo artist) during its 32-country schedule. Filmed at the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Epix’s broadcast showcases Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and Britney Spears performing with Madonna via large screen.

A DVD of the event is reportedly slated for release later this year from Warner Music.

“Performances from artists like Madonna represent the kind of marquee talent who will perform on EPIX as part of our slate of monthly music and comedy events,” said Mark Greenberg, president of New York-based Epix.

The service last month said it intends to stockpile more than 3,000 classic movies — many in digital format for the first time by 2010 — including classic library titles, film franchises, award winners and genre movies.

Epix underscores a move by media companies to offer movies and TV shows to consumers on multiple platforms, including Time Warner’s “TV Everywhere” and online repurposed sites such as Hulu and TV.com, among others.

Studio partners Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount have a combined catalog that totals more than 15,000 films, including such franchises as “James Bond,” “The Pink Panther,” “Indiana Jones,” “Star Trek, “The Godfather,” “Saw” and the Tyler Perry films.

Epix also said it would carry up to 22 feature films from producer/distributor Roadside Attractions — many to be released theatrically this year, in 2010 and in 2011.

Roadside titles this year include From Mexico With Love, a boxing drama pitting a migrant worker against a wealthy rancher’s son, eco-thriller documentary The Cove and Battle for Terra, a CG-animated outer-space adventure voiced by Evan Rachel Wood and Luke Wilson.

Roadside in the first quarter 2010 will feature Demi Moore and Parker Posey in Happy Tears. Remaining titles in the 2010 and 2011 line-up will be announced shortly.

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