BREAKING: Exclusive Media co-chairman/CEO Nigel Sinclair and Guy East have finalized their exits, and Marc Schipper has taken the reins as new Exclusive CEO. Insiders say that Sinclair and East will resurface very quickly with White Horse Pictures, a company that will focus on the production of quality feature films and TV programming. The name comes from the prehistoric hill figure known as the Uffington White Horse. The duo had been on the outs with the company’s majority owners who no longer wanted to take big bets in the production business after a few films didn’t hit. The company has downsized since, and for instance exited the Johnny Depp Whitey Bulger film Black Mass, which Warner Bros acquired to distribute worldwide.
Backed by the Dutch investment fund Dasym Investment Strategies, Exclusive has laid off most of its production department, but it has a strong library of over 1000 and will move forward primarily as a library and sales company. After Deadline dropped the bombshell at Berlin that Sinclair and East would be leaving, subsequent reports put the blame squarely on the Ron Howard-directed Rush. I don’t think that film was the main reason. Though a disappointment in the U.S., the film was hardly a disaster, its $90 million worldwide gross double its $40 million budget, with risk spread among multiple partners. Read More »
UPDATE, 3:04 PM: The company just sent out this release: “Collaborative and fruitful discussions between Exclusive Media’s management and Dasym Investment Strategies are ongoing. Dasym will continue its support for the company. Together we have taken steps to right size our operations. We anticipate making a formal announcement regarding the go forward plan for the company within the next few weeks.”
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 2:31 PM: Layoffs have begun at Exclusive Media. I’m told that 6-7 lower-level employees were let go and more will come. This follows the Berlin bombshell dropped by Deadline that an overhaul of the company was going to happen, with co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East heading for the exits. The catalysts for all of this change were some costly bets that didn’t pay off. Insiders say that primary investor Dasym Investment Strategies isn’t folding up shop but rather reformulating the future of Exclusive. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 4:25 AM: Exclusive Media co-chairman/CEO Nigel Sinclair has confirmed Deadline’s exclusive story last night that a reorganization is underway at the company, one that very well could leave the co-founders no longer running the label after some big bets didn’t pay off. Sinclair issued this statement: “Exclusive Media’s management is engaged in collaborative discussions with our partners from Dasym Investment Strategies BV regarding the forward plan for the company. We will make an announcement regarding the outcome of these discussions at the appropriate time.”
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, THURSDAY PM: The talk of Berlin is a shake-up that is going on right now at Exclusive Media, the production and foreign sales company that is headed by Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. I’m hearing that this will likely end with both of them either leaving those executive posts or transitioning into producing deals. Insiders acknowledge the turmoil, but denied that Sinclair or East could be fired because they are part owners of the company. Sinclair and East — well respected veterans who were behind Let Me In, The Ides Of March and Woman In Black as well as the music documentaries Last Play At Shea with Billy Joel and the Martin Scorsese-directed docu on George Harrison — formed Exclusive Media when they merged their Spitfire Pictures label into the venture, with an acquisition of Hammer Films coming after. The company is backed primarily by Netherlands-based investment company Dasym Investment Strategies. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After an all-night auction, The Weinstein Company closed a seven-figure deal for distribution and remake rights to Undefeated, a high school gridiron documentary that made its premiere Sunday night at South by Southwest at 9:45 PM. Buyers began huddling up as soon as it was finished.
Directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, Undefeated tells the Cinderella story of an underprivileged football team from the perspective of three student athletes from inner city Memphis and a volunteer coach. The film is a Blind Side-caliber underdog story with heart. The Manassas Tigers football team was so woefully underfunded that the school made by money by hiring the team out to serve as the punching bag team that traveled to the home stadiums of wealthy Tennessee teams for their homecoming games, where the home teams would give the visitors a whipping. Things began to change in 2004, when former high school coach and lumber salesman Bill Courtney volunteered to help. When he arrived, the team had 17 players, crappy equipment and terrible practice facilities. By 2009, Manassas was beating up on those wealthy nearby football teams in an effort to make the playoffs for the first time in the school’s 110-year history.
WME Global’s Mark Ankner brokered the deal on behalf of Zipper Brothers Films’ partners Glen and Ralph Zipper. They produced with Rich Middlemas, Lindsay, Seth Gordon and Ed Cunningham, with Exclusive Media Group’s Nigel Sinclair and Guy East among the executive … Read More »
BREAKING: Exclusive Media Group chairman Guy East and Nigel Sinclair are teaming with Cross Creek Pictures president Brian Oliver to finance The Ides of March, the drama that is based on the Beau Willimon Broadway play Farragut North. George Clooney, long set as director, will also star alongside Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Clooney and his Smoke House Pictures partner Grant Heslov wrote the script with Willimon. The Smoke House partners are producing with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way. East, Sinclair and Oliver are co-producing. Exclusive Films International will sell offshore territories at AFM. CAA, which packaged the film and raised the financing, will broker the domestic deal. I’ve heard that Sony Pictures Entertainment is a potential landing place. The film begins production February in Michigan and Ohio.
Deadline revealed September 30 that Gosling would take the role that DiCaprio originally intended to play, a press spokesman for a candidate running in the presidential primary for the Democratic Party ticket. Clooney will play the candidate, a state governor with White House aspirations. Willimon based the play on his own experiences on the campaign trail with Howard Dean in 2004. In the play, the press agent falls prey to backroom politics, the manipulations of veteran political operatives and the seduction of a young intern. Giamatti plays a rival campaign manager, Tomei plays a reporter for the New York Times, and Wood plays an intern for the campaign.