Weinsteins on lookout for more distributors
The Weinstein Co. may have set up its library of films and direct-to-DVD titles at Vivendi Entertainment, but the brothers are still looking at a separate distributor for its upcoming homevideo releases.The company is close to announcing an exclusive home entertainment pact with a major studio. But in the end, TWC may set up deals at various companies around town as it seeks out the best distribution deals for its pics. Universal Pictures’ homevid arm will roll out “Inglourious Basterds” on DVD and Blu-ray later this year; it released the film theatrically last month. Yet while some have speculated that U is the likely studio to land the homevid rights for all of TWC’s future pics, the company won’t necessarily have an overall deal, according to TWC co-topper Bob Weinstein. “We’re in talks with multiple companies on our wide releases,” he told Daily Variety from the Toronto Film Festival. That’s mainly because setting up an overall deal at one studio could prove difficult if films are released by individual distribs. Only Universal and 20th Century Fox handle homevid releases for other studios, with U distribbing Blu-rays and DVDs for Summit Entertainment, while Fox oversees titles for MGM, Lionsgate and Anchor Bay. TWC will likely use homevideo as a way to broker the most lucrative deals it can for release of its pics — especially as it looks for ways to grab enough coin to keep it afloat as an indie. For now, it will work with Vivendi Entertainment to exploit its catalog and direct-to-DVD biz and start rolling out those pics on Blu-ray as part of Vivendi’s takeover of the homevid arm of Genius Products. Most of the films have yet to bow in the high-def format. Vivendi also will handle digital distribution to websites and other platforms. TWC had been a majority owner of Genius. Bob Weinstein called Vivendi Entertainment a “great place to build our home entertainment library,” especially to “develop and increase our catalog business … we look at it as an alliance that will bear fruit on multiple levels.” Universal Music Group, a subsidiary of Vivendi, will release the upcoming soundtrack for the Weinsteins’ musical “Nine.” Rob Marshall helmed the pic, which co-stars Daniel Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman. TWC bows both “Nine” and “The Road,” based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, in November. The Weinstein Co. catalog includes “The Reader,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “El Cid,” as well as direct-to-DVD pics like the second and third installments of the “Pulse” horror pic franchise, from the Dimension Extreme and Dragon Dynasty labels.