EXCLUSIVE: It escaped almost everybody’s notice that Colony Capital’s Tom Barrack and his buddy and business associate Rob Lowe attended the November 14th premiere of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. There appeared no reason for the pair to be there: they had no stake in the film, and they are not teenage girls. They did pose on the Red Carpet for a photo with Summit co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger (see right). And they did have a very good reason to be there, Deadline has learned. Because Santa Monica-based Colony Capital is exploring a deal in which Barrack would take a large equity stake in Summit Entertainment.
Until now, the only potential marriage partner poised for Summit has been Lionsgate, with the two companies engaged in a long and public flirtation to merge. We are told that Colony Capital is not proposing a merger. Instead, Summit would be a friendly takeover target, with the braintrust continuing to run the show, and Summit investors cashing out. There are two ways to proceed being mulled by Colony Capital right now. Barrack is a key owner of Miramax, and in one scenario, Barrack would meld the assets of Summit with a Miramax library. The other scenario has Colony Capital setting up a different company to take a large equity stake in Summit and leave it as a freestanding mini-studio. Barrack and Lowe (yes, Lowe is very much part of this and his … Read More »
Miramax Films chief Mike Lang came into Cannes determined to dispel the notion that his backers handed $660 million over to Disney simply to manage a film library. Lang met me at the Majestic Friday alongside Rob Lowe, the strategic advisor and an investor in the Miramax deal, one of several he and Colony Capital’s Tom Barrack are planning. Lowe has taken an active hand in poring over a trove of screenplays left behind by Harvey and Bob Weinstein when they exited Disney to form The Weinstein Company. Lowe and Lang feel that the best of those scripts—50-75 of 650 are make-able. Fresh productions, coupled with a plan to soon hire an executive to spearhead film acquisitions and development, positions Miramax to make a content play that Lang and Lowe said will replenish the library and keep it viable.
Describing the process of poring over projects that Disney didn’t seem to care about after the Weinsteins left, Lowe said it was “a lot like that final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the warehouse with all those crates stacked up. Boxes and boxes of scripts and material, none of it catalogued. We’d get five from the bottom of a box, and find a script by Anthony Minghella that he and Sydney Pollack were working on before they died. It’s called The Ninth Life of Louis Drax, it’s a great script, and if it was good enough for Minghella and … Read More »
At age 54, from complications following surgery, sources told me. The Oscar-winning director did his most memorable work turning books into literary movies with the Weinsteins at Miramax – The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Cold Mountain. His 1996 The English Patient won 9 Academy Awards, including best director for Minghella and best picture and best supporting actress for Juliette Binoche. Minghella also was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay for the movie and for his screenplay for The Talented Mr. Ripley. His 2003 Cold Mountain brought Rene Zellweger a best supporting actress Oscar. Ripley earned five Oscar nominations. He also directed 1990′s Truly, Madly, Deeply, and he exec produced last year’s Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton.
He was chairman of the Board of Governors at the British Film Institute between 2003 and 2007. Minghella also directed Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the English National Opera in London, then staged it for the season opener of New York’s Metropolitan Opera under general manager Peter Gelb. Born the second of five children to southern Italian emigrants, Minghella came to moviemaking from a successful playwriting career. Under the Weinsteins’ new banner The Weinstein Company, Minghella was recently in Botswana filming an adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency scheduled to air on the BBC this week and as a 13-episode series on HBO. I understand that in recent months Minghella had been spending a lot of time with his close friend Sydney Pollack, who is ailing.