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Weinsteins Think Big: Unload TV Division, Spend on Movies, Take ‘Finding Neverland’ to Broadway (TRAILER)

Weinsteins Think Big: Unload TV Division, Spend on Movies, Take 'Finding Neverland' to Broadway (TRAILER)

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.

READ MORE: Weinsteins’ Dimension Drops Big Bucks on “Gold”

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.

READ MORE: That Was the Week That Was, From Scandal to Agency Defections to Studio Player Moves

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. 

And needless to say Harvey’s throwing money at Broadway musical “Finding Neverland,” which is in previews for one more week. Check out a behind-the- scenes look with stars Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer and Laura Michelle Kelly courtesy of the 2014 American Repertory Theatre production below. 
Like the movie starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, the show follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles as a writer. He finds his muse in a charming widow and her brood of four young sons. Barrie conjures the magical world of Neverland and writes a play unlike any that London theatergoers had ever seen. Tony winner Diane Paulus (“Pippin,” “Hair”) directs the new musical with an original score by composer Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, with a book by playwright James Graham and choreography by Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s “Delirium”). 

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