David Glasser’s about-face decision Wednesday to remain as the Weinstein Co.’s chief operating officer and president stunned the indie film community. After all, its rare to have someone publicly announce their departure from a company only to change course in a matter of weeks.
Describing the process as a “roller-coaster” ride, Glasser said he decided to remain at the studio behind “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” after a weekend of discussions with the company’s heads Bob and Harvey Weinstein about their ambitions for the future of the Weinstein Co.
“They have a vision like nobody else,” Glasser said . “All three of us are clear about the direction that we want to go in.”
In the short term, that will involve expanding the Weinstein Co.’s television business, which is already involved in programs like “Project Runway” and the Netflix series “Marco Polo,” Glasser said. It will also entail exploiting the film business’ library of titles to identify projects that can be made into shows. Two films have already been selected as the basis for future programming, he said.
In a release touting his decision to stay, Harvey Weinstein coyly hinted that the Weinstein Co. might make a bid for Miramax, the indie studio he founded. Reports broke last week that Miramax’s owners had tapped Morgan Stanley to serve as its bank in a possible sale, but Glasser declined to address whether the Weinstein Co. was planning an offer.
All he would say was, “there are other key things in the marketplace, companies and libraries, that we will explore and may be worth going after.”
Glasser’s appointment comes as the Weinstein Co. has been dogged by murmurs that it is facing a cash-flow crunch and has failed to field enough profitable films to cover its overhead. The executive hit back at intimations that the studio was in financial trouble.
“If that was a concern, I would not have walked away from the offers I had on the table,” he said, noting that his new multi-year pact keeps him on board through 2018.
Glasser’s decision to remain in the fold certainly seems to have invigorated the company’s leaders, who are readying for the Toronto Film Festival, a key market for film purchases.
“My brother Bob just made the hottest acquisition with David,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement to Variety. “No one at the Toronto Film Festival will beat that.”
As for those other job offers, Glasser said companies he met with were interested in him replicating what he had helped build at the Weinstein Co., something he was reluctant to do.
“Bob and Harvey still have the fire in the belly,” he said.
He also downplayed suggestions that the Weinstein brothers are hard-driving, difficult bosses, calling it an “urban legend.”
“The brothers have always treated me incredibly well,” he said. “We get along because there’s a mutual respect.”