Film financier David Bergstein has filed suit over Disney’s December 2010 sale of Miramax to a group of investors including Colony Capital, Filmyard Holdings, Miramax chairman Richard Nanula, and other individuals involved in the deal. The suit, which you can read here, was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court. Bergstein alleges numerous counts of fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and that he is owed money for his role in facilitating the $660 million transaction for Miramax. His claims include arranging crucial financing for the deal and that without ”the capital he expended and his considerable efforts, there would not have been a deal”.
In putting together his initial campaign to purchase Miramax, the suit alleges Bergstein approached investor Ron Tutor and led evaluation and due diligence on Miramax and its film library. Additionally, the suit claims Bergstein created a business plan that ultimately was put into place once the acquisition was completed. But after Bergstein won the competition to acquire Miramax, the suit alleges, Colony Capital and its CEO Tom Barrack approached Tutor and asked to join the deal in exchange for investing $100 million of its own money. The lawsuit claims there was an agreement for Bergstein and his Exodus Film Co to receive a non-dilutable 5% equity in the deal, a 1% transaction fee, and consulting agreement.
The suit says Colony’s Barrack subsequently asked Bergstein to reduce his equity … Read More »
When Mike Lang was CEO of Miramax Films, he came to Cannes last year with big plans to move into production, and tap the library for remakes. It was an ambitious plan. Now, Lang surprisingly resigned and it’s not exactly clear what Miramax is going to be. We do know its core business is earning cash from managing the library built up by Bob and Harvey Weinstein that came in the Disney sale for over half a billion dollars. Now, Miramax has taken on the library of films that include Guys and Dolls, Wuthering Heights, The Best Years Of Our Lives and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Here’s the announcement: Read More »
Miramax has announced a licensing pact with UKTV which will make Miramax films available on the British broadcaster’s pay and DTT channels. Futher, the studio has made a handful of new staffing appointments ahead of the Mip-TV market that kicks off in Cannes next week. Former MGM exec Mathilde Rottier has been named VP worldwide television with Stuart Shaw joining from Paramount Home Entertainment as director of international sales and marketing. Also, Astrid De Berardinis and Alexandra Tullberg have been appointed directors of sales. Press releases follow: Read More »
British broadband and digital TV provider BT Vision has entered a licensing agreement with Miramax to give BT Vision Unlimited customers a selection of movies on demand from the Miramax library. In a first, a special Miramax-branded area will be created within BT’s Film space. The deal with BT follows a streaming agreement that Miramax entered with Netflix for the U.K. and Ireland late last year. The full BT Vision/Miramax press release is below:
LONDON, UK, and SANTA MONICA, CA, January 31, 2012 – BT and Miramax today announced a licensing agreement that will bring films from the leading independent studio to BT Vision customers in the UK.
The agreement gives BT Vision Unlimited subscribers instant access to a range of films from the Miramax collection, which has received 284 Academy Award nominations and won 68 Oscars.
The films available will include: Academy Award Best Picture winner Chicago; Pulp Fiction, the modern classic directed by Quentin Tarantino, as well as Kill Bill 1 and 2; nine-Academy Award winner The English Patient; Good Will Hunting, written by and starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck; The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law; The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese; and the first three instalments of the horror franchise, Scream.
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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 »
The studio had already said in October that it wants to refinance much of the debt taken on last December when investor Ron Tutor, and Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital, paid Disney $660M for Miramax. We just didn’t know how much it wanted to raise and where the cash would go. But Bloomberg says that two people “with knowledge of the situation” have disclosed that Miramax plans to sell asset-backed bonds that will enable the company to take advantage of today’s low interest rates and assume more debt. It also would be used to partly repay the investors. They initially put in $408M, now down to $308M, and would continue to keep $100M at Miramax. Colony would benefit from a $142M dividend. Miramax’s collateral would include its 700 films and 14 television series as well as rights to books and development projects. The company has been busily cutting digital licensing deals, including one this week with Netflix to stream movies in the UK and Ireland. Bloomberg says that Barclays Capital and Jefferies Group are managing the bond sale.
This is the latest in a recent series of Netflix deals to secure movies to stream in the UK and Ireland. But this release doesn’t say that the Miramax agreement is exclusive, a contrast to the announcements with Lionsgate and MGM.
BEVERLY HILLS and SANTA MONICA, CA – November 16, 2011 – Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Miramax today announced a new multi-year digital licensing agreement that will bring a broad range of acclaimed Miramax films to Netflix members in the UK and Ireland.
Beginning in early 2012, Miramax titles will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the UK and Ireland streamed over the Internet to connected TVs, tablets, game consoles, computers and mobile phones.
Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Netflix announced in October that it would launch its service in the UK and Ireland early in 2012.
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MIPCOM UPDATE: The video of Miramax CEO Mike Lang’s keynote at the Media Mastermind kickoff today is below, including his chat with Neflix’s Ted Sarandos. The two companies have recently partnered up on the digital side, and the studio is in town to drum up worldwide sales for its content in both film and TV.
PREVIOUS: Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, announced in Cannes this afternoon that Netflix is adding Norwegian-produced TV show Lilyhammer to its original programming lineup. Stevie Van Zandt — who so memorably played mob consigliore Silvio Dante in The Sopranos — plays a Mafioso who testified against his former boss in New York and winds up relocated to the Norwegian countryside as part of the Witness Protection Program. Lilyhammer will premiere on Netflix in early 2012, with Netflix acquiring the 8 episodes from the show’s first season as well as the upcoming 8-episode second season. Sarandos, who was being interviewed by Miramax CEO Mike Lang, said that 60% of viewing on Netflix’s newly separated streaming business is for TV episodes, with Mad Men and Breaking Bad being most popular. Deadline understands that Netflix, which is on the hunt for original programming, has also had talks about reviving Arrested Development with 20th Century Fox TV. Netflix surprised Hollywood in March by outbidding major TV networks for the rights to the David Fincher/Kevin Spacey drama House Of Cards.
Lang, meanwhile, said that Miramax is talking to potential partners around the world about the distributor having its own cable network showing the 700 movies in its archives. Miramax signed a long-term deal for its content with Netflix in May, and is partnering with Facebook to launch Miramax Experience, an app that will allow users worldwide to watch its movies. Lang was keen to talk up how Miramax is reinventing itself as an anytime, anywhere distributor. “In a way I’d like to believe our company is a bit more Silicon Valley than Hollywood in that respect,” he said. Read More »
Thousands of TV executives from around the world are en route to Cannes for the annual MIPCOM market, which starts on Monday. The great majority of them, who are flying into the nearby Nice airport, were greeted by a group of Pan Am stewardesses — a promotion for the new ABC/Sony TV series, which will be among the offerings at the confab. (Though most of the sales for the 1960s soap were made after the international screenings in May.) Probably because there is no airport in Cannes, Pan Am stewardesses were stationed at both terminals of the Nice airport, greeting travelers on their way to the annual confab, according to an attendee who snapped a picture. Among the highlights at this year’s MIPCOM: keynote speeches by Disney-ABC’s Anne Sweeney, Fox’s Kevin Reilly, Miramax’s Mike Lang and Viacom International’s Robert Bakish as well as a press conferences with Paul Verhoeven and Ashley Judd.
That legendary 90-year-old movie producer Saul Zaentz is litigious is nothing new. Today he’s suing Miramax and Disney for breach of contract alleging he hasn’t seen enough profit from the 15-year-old Best Picture Oscar-winner The English Patient. He’s accusing the studios of blatant self-dealing and manipulation and misstating the movie’s revenue by millions in order to enrich itself — but not Zaentz — as well as deceptive and unfair accounting practices in connection with the movie. The lawsuit was filed today by Lavely & Singer’s Marty Singer in Los Angeles Superior Court. But here’s the thing: This isn’t the first time Zaentz has done this. He sued Miramax and Disney over pretty much the same stuff in the same court over the same pic back in 2006. And it was Lavely & Singer who filed that lawsuit, too. (Did they just Xerox today’s complaint?) That first scuffle was dismissed in 2008. In this latest legal battle, Zaentz also is seeking $20 million in damages — same as before. Of course, the Weinsteins owned Miramax when the film was released, but now it’s Disney’s problem because Zaentz claims the Mouse House promised to be good for the dough. Of course, Disney doesn’t own Miramax anymore. What a mess.
Miramax announced today that it is growing its worldwide sales organization by opening its first international office in London. As part of the initiative, former MGM Worldwide Television Group executive Joe Patrick has been promoted to run worldwide sales, and former Power Television CEO and Sony TV exec Danny Goldman has been hired as SVP and Head of Sales, Europe, reporting to Patrick and to be based in London. Patrick will work closely with SVP Global Digital Beth Minehart and continue to report to Miramax CEO Mike Lang. The new London office, in Covent Garden, is expected to be up and running this month. “Opening the London office as our European hub is an important step in our company’s evolution, and we are thrilled to have a presence on the ground,” Lang said in announcing the moves.
The “new” Miramax keeps expanding in all sorts of interesting ways:
SANTA MONICA, CA – August 23, 2011 – Miramax today announced that Beth Minehart has joined the company as SVP, Global Digital, reporting directly to Miramax CEO Mike Lang. Minehart will be responsible for all digital initiatives and sales across the company, including day-to-day management of miramax.com and the continued build-out of Miramax’s Facebook app (Miramax eXperience). She will also work closely with Eric Doctorow, EVP, and Joe Patrick, SVP, Sales, on all digital transaction and sales efforts.
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Miramax announced today on its blog that it is partnering with Facebook to launch Miramax Experience, an app that will allow users worldwide to watch movie clips and feature-length films from the studio. It is the most ambitious move yet for a Hollywood studio on Facebook. At the start, the beta app offers rental video-on-demand for 30 Facebook credits ($3), but Miramax said it plans to eventually sell films to store digitally so buyers can play them on any device. (Currently, 20 films are on offer from the studio library, including Chicago, Gangs of New York, Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction.) The studio, which partnered with Ooyala and AllDigital to build the app in eight weeks, said that more than 50 million Facebook users currently mention a Miramax film in their profile, interact with the Miramax page or like the fan pages of Miramax titles and talent.
Offering up movies via Facebook is becoming a trend. Last week, Universal said it would offer the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski as its first rental in its Social Theater app. In March, Warner Bros also began offering movies, including The Dark Knight, a pair of Harry Potter films and Inception. So far, all of the offerings are available for a 48-hour window for $3.