News comes as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" set a box office record for the franchise, scoring more than $125 million domestically over the weekend.
With "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" expected to easily surpass the $300 million mark, ABC Family's pricetag for the first movie could run more than $30 million. That's because under standard TV practice, theatricals fetch around 10% to 12% of domestic gross."Deathly Hallows: Part 1" will be available for ABC Family to bow in spring 2013. "Deathly Hallows: Part 2," which is set to be released theatrically next July, will then bow on ABC Family in winter 2013.
ABC Cable Networks Group exec VP Tom Zappala, who heads up program acquisitions and scheduling, negotiated the pact with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution.
Deal reps another big theatrical deal for ABC Family, which picked up the B.O. hits "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Blind Side" earlier this year.
For ABC Family, the pact with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution also gives the basic cable rights to the complete "Harry Potter" catalog. The channel already has the first-position window to previous entries "Sorcerer's Stone" (2001), "Chamber of Secrets" (2002), "Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004), "Goblet of Fire" (2005), "Order of the Phoenix" (2007) and "Half-Blood Prince" (2009).
Like "Deathly Hallows: Part 2," ABC Family also gave an advance buy to the "Half-Blood Prince," which ultimately grossed $301 million.
"Our viewers have come to know ABC Family as the television destination for the 'Harry Potter' films. They're enormously beloved by our audience, and the world over," Zappala said.
Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution prexy Ken Werner said ABC Family early on decided to make the "Harry Potter" franchise a priority for the channel.
"ABC Family identified very early that the 'Harry Potter' movies were destined to become an enormously popular franchise, and they committed to making ABC Family the television home for 'Harry Potter,' " Werner said. "This strategy has paid huge dividends for them and all 'Potter' fans."