And now that the theatrical market is proving more challenging than ever for The Weinstein Co., which won just one Oscar this year for adapted screenplay for fall smash “The Imitation Game” ($91 million domestic), it’s clear that the Manhattan mogul is looking to change things up. Weinstein has been exploring new distribution models via innovative digital arm RADiUS-TWC (“Snowpiercer,” “It Follows” and Oscar-winner “Citizen Four”) and deals with Netflix.
And rather than wait to launch holocaust-themed drama “Woman in Gold” in the usual way in the fall for awards season, after early mixed reviews, Weinstein opened the movie wide with a massive ad campaign in concert with star Helen Mirren’s opening on Broadway in Peter Morgan and Stephen Daldry’s “The Audience.” It scored.
Weinstein has been struggling with a new role not just as a financial backer of Broadway shows such as “August: Osage County” and “The Producers,” but as a hands-on stage producer in the Scott Rudin mold. Well, it seems he has a ways to go to catch up with his long term rival (they’ve tussled on such projects as Stephen Daldry’s “The Hours” and “The Reader”), as he deploys movie-world strategies on Broadway film-to-stage adaptation “Finding Neverland” (trailer below) that have amazed theater professionals. That may account for why the usually brash and confident Weinstein seems oddly muted and defensive in a NYT interview that was conducted before recent tabloid coverage of an Italian model’s sexual assault charges.
The Weinsteins have been aggressively pursuing commercial productions for wide release, not only shooting in-house protege Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” but plunking down big bucks to land acquisitions such as Stephen Gaghan’s Matthew McConaughey vehicle “Gold” (for Dimension wide release) as well as Antoine Fuqua’s narco-thriller “The Man Who Made It Snow,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
And the Weinstein Co. is selling their TV Division to British broadcaster ITV in a potential $950 million deal– brokered by investment banker Allen & Company and Creative Artists Agency– that would not only keep them running it, but still collecting cash.