Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ranking the 5 Best Editing Oscar Nominees Ranking the 5 Best Editing Oscar Nominees Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

Weinstein Co. Up Against the Wall

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 8, 2009 at 7:10AM

The real problem with The Weinstein Co. isn't the economy or debt restructuring issues, although that does not help. The Weinsteins are running out of time, because since they launched TWC in 2005 with plans for investor Goldman Sachs & Co. to raise $500 million in equity and $500 million in debt, they've been following an out-of-date business model. When Harvey says "we invented it," he's right. But that doesn't mean that the old Miramax model still works.
0

Weinsteinharveyhead


The real problem with The Weinstein Co. isn't the economy or debt restructuring issues, although that does not help. The Weinsteins are running out of time, because since they launched TWC in 2005 with plans for investor Goldman Sachs & Co. to raise $500 million in equity and $500 million in debt, they've been following an out-of-date business model. When Harvey says "we invented it," he's right. But that doesn't mean that the old Miramax model still works.


At their maximum scale and scope at Disney, the Weinsteins' Miramax topped out at more than 500 employees. Under their successor, Daniel Battsek, the Miramax staff has shrunk down to 80. The Weinsteins were producing $100-million Martin Scorsese period epics like The Aviator and Gangs of New York. Battsek aims at a $20-million budget cap (which he exceeds at his peril, as with Stephen Frears' Cheri, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, which opens stateside on June 26 after pulling middling reviews overseas). The Weinsteins laid off 24 employees last year, or about 11 % of their staff, reports the NYT. The company recently hired Miller Buckfire & Co. to restructure debt that is worth less in this rocky economic climate. Here's the Weinstein Co. statement:



"As a matter of practice, we have always worked with financial institutions to explore our options with respect to equity and possible investments and something we will continue to do. This was an ordinary course we took at Miramax, The Weinstein Company and every business venture we have had in our 30 year career."



Inglourious-basterds-20090526080302409


The Weinsteins looked to the past when they bet on Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Rob Marshall, creators of key successes such as Pulp Fiction, Spy Kids and Chicago, to bring them renewed momentum. Grindhouse was a disappointment, and meanwhile the brothers weren't trawling for less expensive new talent. Star directors with hits under their belts expect to spend money to make money. While Marshall's star-studded musical extravaganza Nine could save the day, $80-90 million is a high number (TWC partnered with Ryan Cavanaugh's Relativity, and has sold most key territories overseas). Sure, the movie looks great. But it's got to be a global blockbuster.


As for Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, which won an acting prize at Cannes, the $70-million movie could be an art-house breakout stateside and do solid international boxoffice, but it's never going to be a huge commercial play. Tarantino is back in the editing room. While Weinstein Co. partner Universal wouldn't mind a shorter movie, they're waiting to see how his new cut plays. The Cannes running time of 148 minutes (that's the official Weinstein Co. number, one minute more than Tarantino told me) is irrelevant, as the movie isn't final anyway. I'd argue for making Inglourious Basterds work as well as it can, whatever the length. In this case, making it shorter won't necessarily make it better. Time Out agrees.


As other specialty companies run on austerity budgets to stay ahead of the economic curve, the Weinsteins seem to be in a bigger-is-better time warp.


This article is related to: In Production, Independents, Directors, Quentin Tarantino, Weinsteins


E-Mail Updates