USA captures Pirates

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Yo ho ho, and a pile of money.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the Johnny Depp sequel that opened with $135 million last weekend, is coming to port on the USA Network. The deal gives the network exclusive rights to air the movie on TV from fall 2008 until 2013.

The cable network, which is owned by NBC Universal, will pay between $20-25 million, or about 12 perecent of the film's projected box-office gross, according to Broadcast & Cable.

"We are thrilled about this acquisition, especially since we already own the rights to the original! USA is a prime destination for major blockbuster theatricals on television and no film fits our brand better than Pirates," Jane Blaney, senior vice president of programming at USA, said in a statement.

USA is also airing the TV premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl on Saturday, July 15, at 8 p.m.

The $135 million opening weekend for Dead Man's Chest is the highest three-day box office gross in film history, beating out former champ Spider Man, which grossed $114 million in its 2002 opening. Dead Man's Chest also holds the title in biggest opening day ever ($55.5 million on Friday) and biggest single-day gross (Friday again), and it's the first film to gross $100 million in two days. By comparison, this summer's Tom Cruise release Mission: Impossible: III has grossed $133 million during its entire 11-week run.

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