You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Harvey Weinstein: Netflix Is Winning Because It Has Vision

Harvey Weinstein came out swinging in defense of Netflix at the Produced By: New York conference on Saturday.

The company’s recent forays into the film business cast a shadow over the gathering of producers, but Weinstein welcomed the company’s encroachment.

Of course, he has a vested interest in the streaming service’s success. Weinstein is producing a sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” that will premiere simultaneously on Netflix and on Imax.

“The reason why [Netflix is] winning is they have a vision,” Weinstein said. “Most executives love money, they don’t love movies … they love movies,” he added.

Theater chains were in an uproar when the deal leaked, and major exhibitors such as Regal, AMC and Cinemark are boycotting the release. They claim that offering the film online at the same time it hits the bigscreen cannibalizes their business.

Weinstein said he was surprised by the outcry because “honestly, we thought Imax had that in hand.” He said it remains to be seen whether or not some theater chains will relent and screen the martial arts sequel, but that his personal preference would be to see the film in Imax.

The deal was about giving consumers choice, he argued, but for the Weinstein Co., it was also about securing a $60 million budget for a massive action film — the kind of picture the indie label rarely gets to make.

“They gave us a big canvas to paint on,” Weinstein said, one that included “all the toys and candy.”

The outspoken, often abrasive producer of such classics as “Pulp Fiction” and “The King’s Speech” also took aim at directors who say he is overly involved in the production of their movies, particularly the time spent in the editing bay. He has earned the moniker “Harvey Scissorhands” for the control he exerts on a movie’s final cut.

Most recently, Weinstein clashed with Korean director Bong Joon-ho on the release of the futuristic adventure “Snowpiercer.” Weinstein said he felt the film was muddled and would benefit from a tighter run-time. Bong was furious and refused to make the changes.

“To me it needed some straightening out,” said Weinstein, before adding that he showed it to five director friends who suggested cutting 40 minutes of the film.

Bong’s cut was eventually released simultaneously on demand and in theaters, becoming one of the year’s most popular VOD releases.

“We kept his original vision and it worked out for everybody because it became a celebrated movie,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein went on to note that directors such Giuseppe Tornatore, who released unedited versions of their films, have found that the altered editions he demanded played better. Roger Ebert argued that Weinstein’s truncated version of Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso” was an improvement on the director’s cut.

“I love directors cuts … they make me look like a genius,” Weinstein joked.

At 62, Weinstein shows no signs of slowing down.

Asked if he’d ever retire, the indie mogul quipped, “I would like to run a small Caribbean nation. Something with a military.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Marrakech Chief on Selecting Arthouse Films

    Marrakech Chief on Selecting Arthouse Films With a Big Stress on the Word 'Art'

    The 18th edition of the Marrakech Film Festival (Nov. 29-Dec. 7) – one of the leading cultural events in the Africa and Middle East region – will screen 98 films from 34 countries. The fest is also reinforcing its industry presence this year through the second edition of the Atlas Workshops, sponsored by Netflix, which [...]

  • Emma Stone Brad Pitt Damien Chazelle

    Paramount Lands Damien Chazelle's 'Babylon,' Dates It for Christmas 2021

    Paramount Pictures has landed the worldwide rights to Damien Chazelle’s next feature film “Babylon,” sources tell Variety. Insiders add the studio has dated the film for a Dec. 25, 2021 limited release, with plans to go wide on Jan. 7. The release date puts in prime position for another awards season run for Chazelle, who [...]

  • Chris Pratt

    Chris Pratt's Sci-Fi Film 'The Tomorrow War' Gets Release Date

    Chris Pratt’s upcoming sci-fi actioner, which was recently retitled “The Tomorrow War,” has set a Christmas Day 2020 release date. The Paramount film was formerly titled “Ghost Draft.” It follows a man (played by Pratt) who is drafted to fight a future war in which the fate of humanity may rely on his ability to [...]

  • Kim Dong-Ho of GIFF Chairman of

    Inaugural Gangneung Film Festival Pays Tribute to Pierre Rissient

    The opening ceremony of the first edition of the Gangneung International Film Festival was dominated by a tribute to the French film scout and festival selector Pierre Rissient, who died in May 2018. The new festival, 240 km from Seoul, counts former Busan festival co-founder Kim Dong-ho as its chairman and former Bucheon festival head [...]

  • 'Waves': Sterling K. Brown and Trey

    'Waves' Cast Reflects on the Making of the Tragic Family Drama

    “Waves,” a partially autobiographical film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, is a visually arresting look at the fraying of an upper-middle class black family in South Florida in the aftermath of a violent tragedy. It examines themes of grief, domestic violence, substance abuse and modern-day pressures on kids to succeed. “Propelled by color, [...]

  • Gaston Pavlovich

    Gaston Pavlovich Talks About Producing 'The Irishman'

    Through his production company Fabrica De Cine, Gastón Pavlovich is one of the producers on Martin Scorsese’s two most recent movies: 2016’s “Silence” and 2019’s “The Irishman.” The 51-year-old native of Mexico first gained notice as an executive producer on the Tom Hanks comedy-drama “A Hologram for the King.” Pavlovich also began working with Scorsese [...]

  • Joker

    How 'Joker' Production Designer and Costume Designer Brought New Color to a Familiar World

    The partnership between a film’s production designer and costume designer is an important one. One creates the outfits and the look of the character, the other creates the world that the viewer disappears into. Together, they collaborate to reinforce the visuals of the film. Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is a world where production designer Mark Friedberg [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content