Proposed deal with Rich, Gleason falls apart

Miramax’s film marketing and distribution team will remain status quo for the foreseeable future — as will its approach to those operations — following the collapse of talks with a pair of former MGM execs, officials said Tuesday.

Miramax reps had been in negotiations with former Lion marketing-and-distrib duo Gerry Rich and Larry Gleason to come aboard the minimajor to head those respective areas (Daily Variety, March 25). In fact, a one-year pact with the execs was close to being announced at one point before final-stage details unhinged negotiations.

“We have a good relationship with them, but things just didn’t work out,” a Miramax spokesman said.

He declined to say why the contract talks ended. But one sticking point appeared to be Rich’s hesitancy to relocate to Gotham, where Miramax bases most of its marketing operations.

“That was a problematic factor,” Rich acknowledged in an interview. “For three weeks, we put our best foot forward to try to do a deal that would be in everybody’s best interests, but ultimately we couldn’t.”

Rich, who worked with Gleason at MGM from 1994-2001, headed Miramax’s film marketing department for a two-year stretch in the early ’90s.

Rich did heavy consulting work for Miramax during recent Oscar campaigning, and Gleason helped out with Academy screenings and the like. It was those endeavors that ultimately evolved into the duo’s talks for a potential longer-term relationship with Miramax.

Neither Rich nor Gleason has decided on his next step just yet, Rich said.

“We’re looking at different alternatives, including potential entrepreneurial ventures,” he said.

Prior to the talks with Miramax, the duo had been talking to investors about creating a new specialty-film distributorship, industry sources said.

Staff in place

Jason Cassidy, exec veep marketing, will continue to head Miramax’s marketing operations. He’s done that ever since West Coast boss and marketing maven Mark Gill ankled for a production startup in November.

Distribution ops have been headed by Gotham-based Mike Rudnitsky since distribution chief Rick Sands was upped to chief operating officer soon after Gill’s departure. Rudnitsky is chiefly responsible for the day-to-day supervision of domestic distribution, with international rights generally sold off on most releases.

Sources had suggested Gleason’s hire might prompt Miramax to retain foreign rights in more instances. But officials insist they plan no changes from the company’s well-established pattern overseas.

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