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Warner Bros Slams Weinsteins’ $75M Lawsuit Over ‘Hobbit’ Profits

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 9:58am PST

NEW DJP LEGAL BADGEThe studio today said that Bob and Harvey Weinstein made a big “blunder” over the rights to The Hobbit movies and now they’re trying to fix their own mistake through the courts by suing over Warner Brosprofits from upcoming sequels. ”This is about one of the great blunders in movie history,’ said WB in a statement today after the brothers and Miramax filed a $75 million in damages lawsuit in NY Superior Court Tuesday. “Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact.  They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit.  And that’s all they’re owed.” The Weinsteins of course see it very differently. “This case is about greed and ingratitude,” says the filing (read it here) against Warner Bros Entertainment and New Line Cinema about the studio’s approach. “Warner’s position is simply an improper attempt to deprive the people originally responsible for hugely successful films being made from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien of their right to share in revenue from two of the three filmed installments of Tolkien’s The Hobbit,” it adds. As always in these things, it all depends how you look at the deal. For Bob and Harvey, the fact that there are three movies being made out … Read More »

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Weinsteins Ordered To Show ‘Escape From Planet Earth’ To Filmmakers Suing For $50M

They didn’t get to make Escape From Planet Earth but the producer and the director suing the Weinstein Company for $50 million will get to see it soon. “Brian Inerfeld, Tony Leech and their counsel (collectively “Plaintiffs) shall be permitted to view the current version of the film titled Escape From Planet Earth ( “the Draft Film”) at a private screening arranged by The Weinstein Company, LLC (“TWC”),” ordered judge Paul Feinman about the animated film on June 18. This ruling (read it here), said the judge, “ conjunction with ongoing settlement discussions” between the parties in the multi-million suit that Inerfeld, Leech and Protocal Pictures filed against the Weinsteins last March.  In standard procedural legal language, the New York Supreme Court judge also reminded the plaintiffs that they “shall not reveal any information about the Draft Film to any person not entitled to receive such information under the terms of the Confidentiality Order.” Escape From Planet Earth is scheduled to be released on February 14, 2013. No word on when or where the screening for Leech and Inerfeld will be held. The Weinstein brothers are not expected to be in attendance for the screening. However, with the parties at this stage, in what has been a contentious and salacious suit so far, any settlement talks must be now discussing credits for Leech, who also co-wrote the original script, and Inerfeld.

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Weinstein Co. Plans To Launch TV Division With Meryl Poster In Talks To Run It

By | Tuesday January 18, 2011 @ 5:25pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Harvey and Bob Weinstein are plotting a big re-entry into television and are talking to an old pal, producer Meryl Poster, to run the new Weinstein Co. TV arm. Poster worked with the Weinsteins for 16 years at their previous company, Miramax Films, including seven as co-president of production, until departing in 2005 just as the brothers too were leaving to launch the Weinstein Co. Since 2005, Poster has been under a first-look deal at NBC Universal for film and TV. She left Miramax on very good terms and stayed in touch with the Weinsteins (the three even put a movie in development together a couple of years ago). Through the years, Harvey and Bob Weinstein had pursued Poster on and off for different positions. With Poster’s NBCU deal coming up on Feb. 1, talks intensified and focused on building a TV arm at the Weinstein Co., a prospect Poster reportedly found appealing. Poster’s potential new gig won’t interfere with her commitment as a producer on Universal’s film adaptation of the Broadway musical In the Heights. The project, the first feature Poster set up under her NBCU deal, is now awaiting green light.

Under Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Miramax launched Miramax TV, which produced such series as reality powerhouse Project Runway (now produced by the Weinstein Co.), its predecessor, Project Greenlight, drama Glory Days and animated comedy Clerks. In addition … Read More »

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Weinsteins Buy 25% Stake In Starz Media

Mike Fleming

Englewood, Colo. and New York, NY (January 4, 2011) – In a significant strategic partnership within the ever-changing home/digital entertainment market, Starz, LLC has agreed to sell The Weinstein Company (TWC) a 25% stake in Starz Media, LLC, a programming production, home entertainment and international TV distribution company which includes Anchor Bay Entertainment and other TV/home entertainment assets. Separately, Anchor Bay has entered into a multi-year domestic distribution agreement for new theatrical content from TWC and its Dimension Films label.

The agreements were announced today by Starz, LLC President and CEO Chris Albrecht and TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Financial terms of the strategic partnership were not disclosed.

The home/digital entertainment deal, which does not include television rights but spans Blu-ray™, DVD and EST/VOD/PPV electronic/digital distribution, covers up to 20 TWC and Dimension titles per year including the seven-time Golden Globe-nominated Tom Hooper drama The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter; Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, starring Golden Globe nominees Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling; and John Wells’ feature directorial debut Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Chris Cooper. Other titles include the Kristin Scott Thomas drama Sarah’s Key, upcoming sequels in the successful Scream, Spy Kids, and Scary Movie franchises, and new installments in the Hellraiser, Halloween, and Children of the Corn film series.

“The distribution agreement leverages the scale of

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Burying Hatchet With Weinsteins Big Step In Miramax Plan

Mike Fleming

Deadline this morning posted news of the deal for Miramax and The Weinstein Company to partner on sequels. Here are some more details.

The deal ended bad blood between the parties, stemming from Harvey and Bob Weinstein failing to reclaim the Miramax name and library of 700 films, but holding a position on sequels to the films they made at Miramax. I’m told that former WMA chief Jim Wiatt was helpful in bridging a relationship between newly minted Miramax CEO Mike Lang and  the Weinstein brothers, and that led to the working arrangement on sequels and does away with potential litigation.

Miramax is starting out as a library company, so in all likelihood, the Weinsteins will take the active role on the sequels. Miramax is entitled to become a 50/50 production partner, but can just as easily take a passive role and collect 5% of first dollar gross. That’s the same amount Miramax is getting for the sequels that are already in the can: Scream 4, Spy Kids 4 and Scary Movie 5. TWC will produce and distribute the films.

Miramax isn’t done making deals, though. It inherited hundreds of development projects and will be looking for partners on those projects. It also has three finished films–the John Madden-directed The Debt, the Guillermo del Toro-produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and the Massy Tadjedin-directed Last Night with Keira Knightley and Sam … Read More »

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It’s Official: Disney Seals Sale of Miramax

The Walt Disney Co’s sale of Miramax Films to Filmyard Holdings for $663 million — subject to certain adjustments — has been completed, it was announced today by both companies. The actual owners are construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital (led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula), and Qatar Holding. The deal includes rights in over 700 film titles, including Academy Award winners Chicago, Shakespeare in Love and No Country for Old Men. Also included are non-film assets, such as certain books, development projects and the “Miramax” name.

Back on January 27th, Deadline was first to tell you that the Weinstein Brothers who founded Miramax in 1979 were trying to buy back the Miramax name, because it’s based on their parents’ first names – Max and Miriam. The bros sold Miramax to Disney in 1993, but left behind the name and the library when they walked away because of a money feud with Michael Eisner and started the The Weinstein Company in 2005. Soon even more potential buyers began kicking the tires and the Weinsteins were in a fierce bidding battle with richer rivals. But then negotiations with the Weinsteins became exclusive, only to fall through.

Then, on January 27th, I was the first to tell you that construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula had joined together to negotiate the acquisition of Miramax from Disney. And so that deal finally gets done today after so many frustrating and … Read More »

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42 West’s Bladimiar Norman Will Spearhead Marketing For Weinsteins

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s restructured The Weinstein Company has been gearing up slates, and hiring veterans to run the TWC and Dimension film labels. Now, they are about to fill the void in marketing, and the choice is a surprise: I’m told that the Weinsteins are hiring Bladimiar A. Norman, who gave notice last week and stepped down from his post as Head of Digital Marketing at PR agency 42 West. Norman, who held posts in interactive marketing at Paramount, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Entertainment, will come in as vice president. Another exec might be added, but I’m told he’ll spearhead marketing for both TWC and Dimension pictures, reporting to David Glasser and the brothers. The Weinsteins recently hired Donna Gigliotti as TWC production president, Brad Luff as Dimension production president, and banker David Hutkin to oversee a new funding unit. In his 42 West post, Norman was digital marketing advisor for 127 Hours, Black Swan and the awards campaign for last year’s Oscar winner, The Hurt Locker. While at Paramount, he was involved in digital marketing initiatives and awards campaigns for such Paramount Vantage pics as Babel and There Will Be Blood.

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TOLDJA! Done Deal: Disney Sells Miramax To Ron Tutor & Colony Capital For $660M

Miramax Deal “95%” Done
Colony Capital Now Leading Ron Tutor’s Miramax Negotiations

Back on July 8th I was the first to tell you that construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula had joined together to negotiate the acquisition of Miramax from Disney. And so that deal finally gets done tonight after so many frustrating and annoying stops and starts, and bidders and runners-up. (Announcement below.) Still, this was relativity speedy considering that Colony Capital only a month ago entered the deal as a big equity provider matching Tutor’s equity of several hundred million dollars. So I have to ask: Are bidding war losers Harvey and Bob Weinstein crying into their beer tonight?

All in all, $660 million is a very good price for the company because film library values have taken a hit as DVD/video has flattened. True, Disney once placed a sky-high $1.2 billion pricetag on the Miramax library. The studio hoped to get around $800 million, then $700 million, and this number comes awfully close to that. The final figure exceeds the $625M-$650M which the Weinstein brothers/Ron Burkle/Fortress-Colbeck partnership seemed ready to pay until talks broke down. Due diligence showed that Miramax is sitting on a lot of cash, as much as $300M in receivables. Also, I’ve learned that Disney stands to make even more because … Read More »

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EXCLUSIVE: Guillermo Del Toro Talks About ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark,’ And Lessons Learned Before Leaving ‘The Hobbit’

Mike Fleming

He’s a geek god when he walks the halls of Comic-Con. But Guillermo del Toro just told me he feels the phalanx of print and web media at the festival gave short shrift to the reaction of footage that he, producer Mark Johnson and director Troy Nixey presented for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. On Friday, they showed the Comic-Con crowd a chilling eight-minute prologue (think Marathon Man) and a trailer that gave a glimpse of the creatures that haunt a family in the remake of the classic 1973 telepic. It was his second Comic-Con panel, after he announced he’d scared up a writing and producing gig for the movie version of Disney’s Haunted Mansion theme park attraction.

Haunted Mansion must have had them thinking, well that’s the big movie for this guy, but I’m telling you the most successful panel I was on was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, where we had a house at full capacity, with 6000 asses levitated by both pieces of footage,” del Toro told me. The remake—which stars Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce—shapes up as a potential sleeper when Disney releases in January. That’s a satisfying outcome for del Toro after a twisty road which began because he was such a fan of the original, made during a golden age of horror offerings from ABC that included Trilogy of Terror and Bad Ronald. Del Toro set it up with Bob … Read More »

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