The Weinstein Company and Donna Gigliotti have reunited. It’s good news for both sides of the equation.
Donna’s beginnings as Martin Scorsese’s assistant were followed by many successes. Her list of credits is huge, ending most recently with Let Me In.
We worked together on the joint acquisition of My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985. At that time I was buying for Karl Lorimar Home Video and she was buying for Orion Classics with Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. This was a first for many of us. In these early days, Film Four had, what was perhaps not even yet labeled, a Producers Rep, Joy Pereths, a New York based British film expert who in 1977 brought Pumping Iron to the marketplace and later opened an early indie distribution company. She was a creative advisor to Sundance’s director’s lab in 1984. This was 1985 at the time of the New York Film Festival (it was not in the festival) and Joy gave a trade screening for all the acquisitions executives who were in town for the festival.
It was all of our first but not our last joint acquisition. It was Lorimar’s first feature acquisition, my first acquisition at Karl Lorimar and the first film Film 4 sold to the U.S. It was the first British film to come to the U.S. in some years. It was the first film starring Daniel Day Lewis, Hanif Kureishi’sfirst produced screenplay, and the first feature produced by Sarah Radclyffe and Tim Bevan. We paid $150,000 for North American rights of which $75,000 went to P&A and Orion Classics released it in N.Y. and L.A. It grossed $7,000,000 and sold 60,000 VHS units. Its success ignited the market for British films in America. One year later, another Film Four – Working Title British film Wish You Were Here sold to Jonathan Dana at Atlantic for $1,000,000 and he sold the home video rights to Fries for $1,200,000. And the prices for indies went sky high.
Let’s hope that after The King’s Speech the team finds a project on a par with it and their early landmark success, Shakespeare in Love. According to the N.Y. Times, “Ms. Gigliotti also has two pictures already in the works at the Weinstein Company, including The Silver Linings Playbook, starring Anne Hathaway and directed by David O. Russell.” This film is a legacy of Mirage’s Anthony Minghella and Sidney Pollack. Michelle Raimo, who collaborated with the Weinsteins on Miramax pictures such as “Chocolat,” is producing according to 27 March 2009’s Hollywood Reporter.
Congratulations to both parties and best wishes for success!
Donna Gigliotti by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images