Summit Entertainment has set a pay-television plan for its post-"Twilight" era, signing an exclusive agreement for its movies with HBO that runs from 2013 until 2017.
The Santa Monica independent studio is switching away from HBO rival Showtime: Its current deal to distribute its movies on Showtime expires at the end of next year. The Showtime agreement, reached in late 2008, includes all of Summit's five "Twilight" movies, the last two of which are scheduled to hit theaters in November 2011 and November 2012.
Summit will be looking to build new franchises starting in 2013 that will fall under the HBO agreement, including a reboot of the action series "Highlander" and an adaptation of the science-fiction book "Ender's Game."
With the impending departure of Summit, Showtime has few studios providing it with new films. They include its corporate sibling CBS Films as well as Weinstein Co. and DreamWorks Studios. Increasingly, Showtime relies on its original series — such as "Nurse Jackie" and the upcoming drama "Homeland" — to draw subscribers.
HBO, meanwhile, faces increasing competition from Netflix for pay-TV deals. In the last year, Netflix has signed agreements with independent studios Relativity Media and FilmDistrict to put their movies on its Internet streaming service instead of on premium cable networks.
Pay-television networks spend billions of dollars for the exclusive rights to broadcast movies starting about six months after they hit theaters.