The movie deal, one of the largest in basic cable history, also includes the action sequel Fast Five, starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson; the comedy Little Fockers, with Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro; and The Adjustment Bureau, featuring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.
Most of those movies, including Bridesmaids, will debut on USA in 2013. The price tag for those four features alone will cost USA Network more than $70 million, as most theatrical movie deals cost around 12% of domestic box office gross. That means, counting up all 30 movies in the Universal package, it'll come close to (but won't surpass) what USA paid in 2009 for a 24-film slate from the studio.
USA's deal with Universal — the two divisions are sister companies within NBCUniversal — comes as FX has aggressively pursued many of this summer's biggest box office hits. FX has acquired the rights to movies including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Green Lantern and The Hangover Part II, among others. USA, on the other hand, has been focusing on acquiring major, big-ticket network series, including repeats of shows like NCIS: Los Angeles and Modern Family.
But Bridesmaids is a big title, and one of the surprise hits of the movie year. The comedy, from producer Judd Apatow, also stars Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy. Bridesmaids surpassed all expectations at the box office, having so far grossed a strong $165 million.
Under the terms of the deal, the 30-film Universal package can run across several NBCUniversal channels, including NBC, Syfy, E!, Bravo, Oxygen, Style, G4, Chiller, Sleuth (Cloo) and UniHD, in addition to USA.
"This groundbreaking acquisition package represents our ongoing dynamic partnership with Universal to deliver blockbuster movies and A-list talent to our audience," says Jane Blaney, executive vice president of programming, acquisitions and scheduling at USA Network. (The deal was done through NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution.) "These films provide a strategic platform for our originals, while complementing our brand of character-based entertainment."