Get ready for some old-school binge watching, because all of the Star Wars movies are coming to TNT starting this weekend. Turner Inc., who owns TNT, TBS and several other cable networks, have made a massive deal with Disney in order to secure the broadcast rights for 10 Star Wars movies. Turner had to make a separate deal with 20th Century Fox, who still owns the rights to Star Wars: A New Hope. That brings the total to 11 Star Wars movies the company now has the rights to.
Deadline reported on Wednesday that Turner had made the deal with Disney for around $200 million. The deal includes the Star Wars prequel trilogy, as well as The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. It will also include the next three yet-to-be-released movies, which will be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Episode VIII and the upcoming untitled Han Solo spinoff movie. Since the network was able to work out a separate deal with Fox, they now have the rights to air every movie in the Star Wars saga whenever they choose.
The catch is that Turner only has the rights to the ad-supported airing of the Star Wars movies. They can put the movies on an on-demand platform, but anyone watching the movies will have to endure ads, which is something consumers have become much less tolerant of in the age of streaming. Currently, Starz has the rights to air Star Wars: The Force Awakens without commercials, but it is Netflix who has the most appealing deal with Disney. The streaming service worked out a deal with Disney to exclusively get every one of the studio's new movies, including new Star Wars movies, before anyone else starting this month. That means Netflix subscribers will get to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Episode VIII commercial free long before they wind up on TNT.
According to the report, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will make its debut on TNT in early 2018, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story following in early 2019. That means it will be roughly two and a half years from the theatrical release to the time they reach cable. In any case, it is a tremendous deal and Turner seems very happy about it. Here is what Deborah K. Bradley, EVP of networks optimization, content strategy and commercialization for Turner, had to say in a statement about the deal.
"The Star Wars movies and characters are beloved across generations, captivating audiences and breaking box office records around the globe for nearly four decades. Through this deal, TNT and TBS will be the exclusive basic cable home of one of the most iconic, enduring and valuable movie franchises of all time, giving viewers the chance to watch this amazing collection from the very beginning."
The deal between Turner and Disney for the Star Wars movies is also said to include some other, less successful movies such as Alice Through The Looking Glass and Pete's Dragon. TNT will be celebrating the deal with a six-night Star Wars marathon starting on September 20, starting with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It will conclude on September 25 with an all-day marathon of the first six Star Wars saga movies. You can check out the full schedule for the marathon here:
Tuesday, Sept. 20: 8 p.m. - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 11 p.m. - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Wednesday, Sept. 21: 8 p.m. - Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, 11:05 p.m. - Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Thursday, Sept. 22: 8 p.m. - Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, 11:05 p.m. - Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Friday, Sept. 23: 8 p.m. - Star Wars: A New Hope, 10:45 p.m. - Star Wars: A New Hope. Saturday, Sept. 24: 10:45 a.m. - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 1:45 p.m. - Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, 4:55 p.m. - Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, 8 p.m. - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, 10:45 p.m. - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Sunday, Sept. 25: 5:15 a.m. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 8:15 a.m. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, 11:20 a.m. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, 2:25 p.m. - Star Wars: A New Hope, 5:10 p.m. - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, 8 p.m. - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 11 p.m. - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 2 a.m. - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.