SANTA MONICA, CA – March 7, 2011 – Miramax today announced that Eric Doctorow has been appointed Executive Vice President, effective immediately. Doctorow will lead Miramax’s worldwide home entertainment and distribution efforts, and his responsibilities will also include supporting digital and licensing opportunities. Doctorow will report to Mike Lang, Miramax’s CEO.
“Eric is a tremendous addition to our senior leadership team, and we are very pleased that he is joining Miramax,” said Lang. “Eric brings an unparalleled range of experience in the home entertainment business and an impressive track record of innovation and creativity — especially in library product. Our partnerships in home entertainment and international distribution are a key part of our strategy, and Eric will manage these important relationships, not only with existing partners such as Lionsgate, but the many more to come.”
Since closing the Miramax transaction in December 2010, Lang and the Miramax team have signed several long-term distribution deals. In addition to Lionsgate, these include Studiocanal for home entertainment in Europe, Echo Bridge for select Miramax titles in the U.S., and Alliance Films in Canada. Doctorow will have day-to-day responsibility for all of these strategic relationships going forward.
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 …
As expected, former News Corp exec Mike Lang was named CEO of the new Miramax Films now owned by construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital (led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula), and Qatar Holding. Colony Capital’s Nanula will be the key person picking a CEO and CFO from the usual roster of experienced movie executives. Barrack has said frequently that Miramax didn’t want to end up hiring someone who’ll use distribution as an “excuse” to go into production. “Because that would be disastrous.”
The long-running drama of MGM should play out by tomorrow when creditors decide whether or not to embrace a restructuring package that puts Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber in control or instead give the MGM assets to Carl Icahn and Lionsgate. Elsewhere, Miramax Films, the other endless custody battle, is starting to come together. Reports have former News Corp exec Mike Lang in talks to become CEO, and MGM television coprexy Jim Packer also in discussions to take a post. All this is contingent on the sale of the company by Disney to Filmyard Holdings that takes place at year’s end. That purchase is backed by Ron Tutor and Colony Capital.