Despite solid 'Basterds,' studio continues to downsize
The pinkslips keep coming at the Weinstein Co., with another 35 slots due to be cut in the next month, leaving the staff size at around 90.
Four-year-old TWC is also planning to limit the number of releases to 10 a year — four each for Harvey and Bob Weinstein and two pickups.
Moves come three months after TWC engaged restructuring specialist Miller Buckfire.
“We hired a firm to help us restructure and put a plan into place to get us to a size that will fortify our company moving forward,” a TWC rep said. “In this economic climate, it makes sense to focus on a smaller slate, and with that, we need fewer people. By the end of the year, the look of the company will be complete, and we can continue releasing successful films.”
TWC’s been hit with several rounds of layoffs since last October, when it cut 24 people to leave the staff at 200. The latest round of reductions will leave the size of the staff similar to that of rival studios with a comparable slate size, such as Overture Films and Summit Entertainment.
Changes come in the wake of a solid box office performance by Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” with $111 million domestically and $119 million in foreign markets. Universal and the Weinstein Co. are equal partners on “Basterds,” with TWC handling domestic and U overseas.
TWC’s “Halloween II” has turned in a decent $31.6 million domestic cume in four weeks. And its “Project Runway” has generated respectable smallscreen numbers.
The Weinsteins made a splash at the Toronto Film Festival with their acquisition of “A Single Man.” TWC also recently sold off its Genius Products, with Vivendi assuming control of the home entertainment distribution operations and DVD franchises, including World Wrestling Entertainment and “Sesame Street.”
TWC has been juggling its release calendar. A week ago, it delayed “Youth in Revolt,” starring Michael Cera, from Oct. 30 to Jan. 15 on the heels of premiering the comedy at Toronto.
It also recently moved awards contender “The Road,” starring Viggo Mortensen, from October to Nov. 25, where it will compete with another TWC kudos hopeful — the musical “Nine,” directed by Rob Marshall and starring Daniel Day-Lewis.