According to Variety, FX has bought the cable TV rights to Superman Returns six months in advance of its June 30 theatrical premiere.

The network has agreed to pay Warner Bros. Domestic Cable about 12% of the eventual domestic gross, with a cap at between $17 million and $25 million, depending on the contract's length of term and on whether Warner finds another buyer to share the window with FX. Cabler gets the first burst of Superman runs in its TV premiere early in 2009.

Warners also sold to the net the cable TV rights to the Harrison Ford thriller Firewall, set for theatrical release on Feb. 10.

FX moved quickly to lock up Superman Returns and Firewall to head off its two main cable net rivals, TNT and USA.

In this strike-quickly scenario, waiting to buy Superman Returns until after its June release could've triggered the built-in advantage that TNT has as a corporate sibling of Warner Bros. Domestic.

Both Superman Returns and Firewall will appear on HBO next year in the exclusive pay TV window as part of HBO's output deal with Warner Bros. Pictures.