What do we know about the new Miramax, which has finally closed its $660 million deal to separate from previous owner Disney?
What's left of the company the Weinsteins left behind when they left Disney five years ago? The old offices and staff are gone. It's basically a library (My Left Foot, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Chicago, The Crying Game, The Piano, sex, lies and videotape, Clerks among the 700 titles--check out this montage), with several outstanding movies, such as Guillermo del Toro's production Don't be Afraid of the Dark and John Madden's The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, still to be sold to distributors (I hear Focus will release it).
The new CEO of the company owned by Filmyard Holdings chief Ron Tutor and other investors is Harvard biz school grad and six-year News Corp. vet Michael Lang, 45, who developed business strategy for Rupert Murdoch (including the acquisition of Hulu and MySpace) before leaving in February to shepherd Tutor through the acquisition of Miramax. He plans to bring new life to the library and "build a new kind of media company," he stated.
Here's The Wrap's Lang Q & A. He plans to focus on the library for the first two years, growing homevideo and TV sales, as well as digital opportunities. He's in the market for acquisitions and will develop sequels with, believe it or not, the Weinsteins, including Bad Santa, Rounders and the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, whose producer Donna Gigliotti is running production for TWC. Other possible sequels include Bridget Jones’s Diary, Copland, From Dusk Till Dawn, Swingers, Clerks, Shall We Dance and The Amityville Horror. The two companies are already partnered on franchises Scream 4 (April 15, 2011), Spy Kids 4 (August 19, 2011) and Scary Movie 5.
Miramax will handle digital distribution on some of the sequels. Miramax and TWC will also develop special edition materials for Blu-ray releases. Stated the Weinsteins:
“We are very close to these films and the new management of Miramax also feels that we are in the best position to create sequels that are at once worthy and compelling in their own right. We look forward to working with Mike and his team on getting these films into production as soon as possible, and extending our partnership in the years ahead.”
Never say never in Hollywood, which always brings strange bedfellows. In this case, there's mutual interest involved.