It's official. Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein begin working full-time at their new company Monday after having their final day at Miramax Films, the company they created in 1979. Miramax became the leading specialty division through the 90s, evolving into a major production and distribution arm of Walt Disney Studios over the last few years. A settlement announced back in March kept the Miramax name at Disney along with the Miramax and Dimension libraries, while the Weinsteins have the Dimension label at their new company, along with key projects and relationships. Friday, September 30th marked the Weinsteins last day at Miramax, coinciding with the official departure of Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner the same day. Robert Iger has replaced him, while over the summer Daniel Battsek was named the new head of a smaller Miramax Films.
The Weinstein Company, as the new venture has officially been named (adopting its temporary title), was heralded through full-page color spread advertisements in the New York Times this weekend. "The end of an extraordinary era..." reads the copy on the left full page, including an image of the Manhattan skyline at dusk, a list of nearly 100 Miramax movies, and boasting about the company's 249 Oscar nominations and 60 Academy awards. On the right full page, above a pair of spotlights with light beams crossing to form a 'W', the copy reads "And the dawn of a new adventure." It includes a list of upcoming Weinstein Company movies below a shot of the same skyline, pictured at sunrise.
Highlighted TWC projects for the company launch include Richard Shepard's "The Matador," Mikael Hafstom's "Derailed," Laurence Dunmore's "The Libertine," Stephen Frears' "Mrs. Henderson Presents," Duncan Tucker's "Transamerica," Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech's "Hoodwinked," Chen Kaige's "Master of the Crimson Armor," Anthony Minghella's "Breaking & Entering," Quentin Tarantino's "Grind House," Todd Phillips' "School for Scoundrels," Jesse Peretz' "Fast Track," Kevin Smith's "The Passion of the Clerks," John Madden's "Killshot," David Zucker's "Scary Movie 4," Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller's "Sin City 2," Paul McGuigan's "Lucky Number Slevin," and Peter Webber's "Young Hannibal: Behind the Mask."
Over the past few months, while still working at Miramax, Bob and Harvey Weinstein have named a number of executives to key posts at their new company. Glen Basner joined The Weinstein Company as the president of international, leaving Focus Features where he served as EVP of international sales and distribution. Richard Saperstein was appointed executive vice president and head of production for Dimension Films, while Matthew Stein was hired as SVP of production for Dimension Films.
Last week, TWC announced that Matthew Cohen has been named executive vice president of marketing and creative affairs and Gary Faber has been named executive vice president of marketing. Liza Burnett was hired from Dan Klores and Associates to head PR operations at The Weinstein Company. Dani Weinstein is on board as SVP of publicity and others included in the department from the former Miramax include Sarah Levinson, Julie Cloutier and Sara Finmann.
A trade paper report in Variety indicated that acquisitions executives Agnes Mentre, Michelle Krumm and Maeva Gatineau are also joining the company from Miramax Films.
First up for TWC will be the release of "Derailed" in early November, followed by "The Matador", as well as "Transamerica," a Tribeca Film Festival acquisition that will be released in conjunction with IFC Films. TWC also announced a broader partnership with IFC's parent group Rainbow Media Holdings to build a film library together, with TWC handling home-video distribution and international sales for IFC and Rainbow's AMC and WE: Women's Entertainment.
Over at Miramax, new chief Battsek has been particularly quiet about plans for the new company thus far, having made two acquisitions (Gavin Hood's "Tsotsi" and Ward Serrill's "The Heart of the Game") but not saying much more about the company yet. Other movies on its slate include Scott Marshall's "Lucky 13." Disney CEO Iger has talked about the new Miramax being more in line with the size of the Miramax of old.
"We are still in the Miramax business but it will be reconstituted so it basically looks more like the business [the Weinsteins] started -- independent films and four, five or six low-budget pictures," Iger was quoted as saying recently.