WEINSTEINS TO REUNITE WITH MIRAMAX
c.2013 New York Times News Service
The Weinsteins and Miramax Films are together again. And that means movies like “Shakespeare in Love’’ and “The Swingers’’ may get a second life.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who founded Miramax but left in a split with its then-owner, Walt Disney, in 2005, will produce and distribute films and television shows based on the studio’s library of about 750 films. The arrangement is part of a new agreement announced Monday between the Weinstein Co. and a consortium of the current owners that includes the private equity firm Colony Capital.
The deal reunites the brothers with a storied movie company that was named in 1979 for their parents Max and Miriam, and helped shaped the independent film business both before and after its acquisition by Disney in 1993.
For Miramax, the alliance underscores the value of owning entertainment content as digital viewing increases and services like Netflix and Amazon Prime pursue new material. For Weinstein, the deal illustrates the company’s expanded ambitions beyond the approximately 15 films it has been releasing annually. In addition to the Miramax deal, Weinstein recently announced it would focus more heavily on creating television shows.
Since 2010, when the current owners bought it for about $663 million, Miramax has largely depended on the sale of rights to its backlist of films, including dozens of awards winners and commercial hits like “Pulp Fiction,” “Chicago” and “Scream.”
Now, the Weinstein Co. — with financing from Colony and its partners — will be given a 20-year window in which it can generate new films, television programs and theatrical productions based on old Miramax titles, and will remain indefinitely involved with any series it generates from the library.
“There was that one scene in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ where all the treasures are in a room,” Harvey Weinstein said in a Sunday interview. “That’s what it’s like for us.”
Weinstein spoke jointly with Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the chief executive of Colony, which purchased Miramax through a partnership that includes the Tutor-Saliba Corp. and the Qatar Investment Authority.
Since last summer, off-and-on talks between Barrack and Weinstein have set off news reports, and considerable speculation, that Miramax and the Weinstein Co. might merge.
Under the current deal, the companies will remain separate, and Miramax will continue to distribute any new films or programs abroad, while Weinstein will handle domestic distribution.
Barrack spoke of a future in which film production at Miramax might rise to three or four films a year, and television production might stretch to as many as five shows annually.