Australia's Seven Network has signed for television and pay television rights to all the films that are released theatrically by the Australian arm of Icon Film Distribution, which opened for business early this year.

The first package of films in the multi-year deal includes We Were Soldiers, Gosford Park, the thriller Basic, starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, the Rob Schneider comedy Harrv The Barbarian, and a yet-to-be announced Gwyneth Paltrow project.

"This is a significant coup for Seven, and an arrangement that will ensure our network has first option on the rights to some of the leading international film titles in coming years," said Seven's network head of programming Chris O'Mara in a prepared statement.

"From day one, Channel 7 have been very keen to acquire all TV rights for our movies so I'm very pleased to be able to conclude a deal so quickly," said Mark Gooder, Icon's Australian chief executive. "It's important for Icon to have this kind of relationship with a network in Australia and the output will allow us to deliver some very strong titles to Seven over the coming years."

Many of the smaller Australian distributors complain about the difficulty of selling free-to-air television rights to non-mainstream titles.