Deal covers films, TV and stage
Harvey and Bob Weinstein are back in business with Miramax, the company they founded in 1979, via a multi-year co-production and co-distribution deal covering movies, TV and stage for titles in the Miramax library.
“This is an amazing opportunity to work with the company named after our parents Miriam and Max,” the Weinstein brothers said.
The 20-year deal covers movie sequels, prequels, TV series and plays for such iconic Miramax titles as 1998′s “Shakespeare in Love” and 1996′s “Swingers.” The alliance also includes development of TV series based on the Miramax titles “Good Will Hunting” and “Flirting with Disaster.”
The deal calls for films created under the partnership to be released in the U.S. by The Weinstein Co. and sold in the international marketplace by Miramax. First productions will start early next year, the companies said.
The pact was announced Monday morning by Harvey Weinstein and Tom Barrack, the head of Colony Capital, who outbid Weinstein to buy Miramax in 2010. That library contains 750 Miramax and Dimension titles along with another 250 projects in development.
“Reuniting Harvey with the acres of cinematic diamonds that is the Miramax library, and combining the companies’ powerful distribution capabilities, will create an unparalleled partnership in cinematic excellence,” Barrack said.
The new deal gives Harvey Weinstein more control over the library he helped build from the ground up and provides Miramax a means to produce more new content.
Variety first reported in August that Harvey Weinstein and Barrack had met in France to discuss merging the companies or forming a partnership.
Barrack’s group of investors and Qatar Holding purchased the library for $663 million. Miramax’s owners have since licensed the library through deals with Netflix, Hulu, Lionsgate, Facebook and others and launched development on a few titles for TV and films.
Barrack said Monday that strong growth in digital had doubled the Miramax cash flow and made Colony Capital’s investment profitable.
Miramax has also launched development of TV series based on Robert Rodriguez’ “From Dusk Till Dawn,” which is in production, along with James Mangold’s “Copland” and Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York.” And Miramax and Screen Gems recently wrapped on shooting Jeremey Garelick’s “The Wedding Ringer.”
The Weinsteins sold Miramax to Disney in 1993 and continued to run it until 2005, when they split to form TWC.
Barrack told Variety that taking advantage of the Weinsteins’ expertise on the library titles is the key to the alliance. “This is the meat of who they are,” he added.
The Weinsteins had partnered with investor Ron Burkle in 2010 in a bid to buy Miramax from Disney but decided against matching the offer from Colony Capital. In 2011, Miramax raised $500 million through a film-backed securitization that valued the company at more than $800 million, based largely on revenue anticipated from future TV and digital licensing agreements.
“We salute Qatar Holding and Tom Barrack of Colony Capital for joining forces in this most exciting of endeavors,” the Weinstein brothers said. “From movies to TV shows to the Broadway stage, they have reinvigorated Miramax productions and to have the Miramax banner fly once again is a dream come true for all of us.”
Miramax lost two of its top executives in unexpected shakeups with former CEO Mike Lang leaving the company last year and being replaced by former Colony Capital principal Richard Nanula. Nanula left his post in June in the wake of a sex tape scandal and sexual harassment lawsuit, leading to Barrack assuming the chairmanship at the Santa Monica-based company.