In yet another sign that the two-hour movie is fighting for survival, Bob and Harvey Weinstein announced that they’ve signed an exclusive first look deal with filmmaker Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), whose “Southpaw” boxing flick was a commercial $52 million domestic hit last year, even if it did not score in the Oscar derby. But they forged not a film pact with Fuqua but a television deal. This is their first deal since announcing their plans to expand more into television, where they have long produced such shows as “Project Runway.” “It’s a great time to work in TV with the type of high-quality caliber shows that are out there now,” said Fuqua.
These days, the Weinsteins have chinks in their armor as they downsize with tighter overhead and a focused slate, at the urging of their board. When a spate of key execs left TWC amid staff layoffs, from marketing (Stephen Bruno), production (Dylan Sellers), digital (Andrew Stachler), and international (Michael Rothstein), the Weinsteins mostly promoted from within. But when COO David Glasser briefly exited the company last fall, Bob and Harvey Weinstein lured the exec back with the full support of their investors. That sent a more positive signal to a jittery industry.
As they lean toward more in-house production— in a market crammed with too many poor-quality films —and partnerships on the film side, where “Paddington” ($76 million domestic) was another 2015 high-water mark (a sequel is set for 2017), the Weinsteins are pursuing more TV projects such as “War and Peace,” starring Paul Dano and Jim Broadbent. They plan to”monetize” their assets in 2016, with a slate of commercial-looking pictures going forward. That’s where their cash is going, as Glasser reins in unnecessary spending. Harvey Weinstein and Glasser opted to cancel sales meetings in Berlin, after declining to help send “The Hateful Eight” Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh to the BAFTAs. They wouldn’t have blinked at that line item in the old days. Nor did they step up to buy back their old company Miramax when it went up for sale. Doha’s BeIn Media Group bought it instead.
As TWC pursues a slimmed down theatrical slate, they plan to use nimble RADiUS as their day-and-date VOD option.
TWC’s television production division garnered twelve Emmy nominations in 2015. TWC Television not only produces “Project Runway,” but its spin-off series “Project Runway All Stars,” “Under The Gunn,” and “Threads.” Scripted series include John Fusco’s “Marco Polo” with Netflix. Other recent TWC television productions include “Mob Wives,” “Million Dollar Shoppers,” “Rodeo Girls,” “Cement Heads” and “Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor.” Upcoming scripted projects include “Ten Commandments” and Daniel Stashower’s “The Hour Of Peril.” TWC also developed “Nanny Diaries” and produced “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”