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UPDATE: No Miramax-Weinstein Merger; Miramax Revving TV/Film Production: Joint Ventures Planned With Starz, Weinsteins, Others; ‘Copland’ Reboot As Starz TV Show

UPDATE SATURDAY 2:30 AM: Ignore those media stories claiming Miramax and The Weinstein Co are in talks for a potential merger. Even while on vacation I can tell you definitively they’re overblown. I’ve learned a merger is impossible because of The Weinstein Co‘s structure. As I first reported Friday, what is true is that Colony Capital/Miramax chief Tom Barrack and Harvey Weinstein just spent time in St Tropez conferring about ways to work together because of lots of joint venture opportunities. Such co-productions would give Harvey access to his most coveted projects from his Miramax heyday which is why he wanted to buy it back from Disney in 2010. The Weinstein Co and others are courting Miramax because its cash flow will exceed $160 million this year. “So all of the production groups would like to plug into this free cash flow with their development pipeline,” my insider said Friday.

EXCLUSIVE … FRIDAY 1 PM: Hollywood needs more production and financing right now. So the good news is that Miramax is about to become a movie/TV player ”big time” under Colony Capital chief Tom Barrack’s direct oversight following Richard Nanula’s exit. “There will be some big announcements in the next 60 days of productions and joint ventures,” one of my sources says. I’ve learned that first up is this project: Miramax and Starz have agreed to develop and cofinance a one-hour TV series based on the critically well-received 1997 Miramax film CoplandThe pic’s scripter-director James Mangold is executive producing the TV show with Cathy Konrad and Adam Fields. Mangold and Bryan Goluboff (The Basketball Diaries, 2008′s In Treatment) are writing the pilot. Read More »

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Tom Barrack Named Chairman At Miramax; Richard Nanula Officially Resigns

By | Monday July 8, 2013 @ 8:16am PDT

Related:
More Trouble For Colony Capital’s Richard Nanula
Nanula Takes Leave Of Absence From Miramax And Colony After Sex Scandal

SANTA MONICA, July 8, 2013 – Global film and television studio Miramax announced today that Thomas J. Barrack, Jr. has been named Chairman of the company, effective immediately, replacing Richard Nanula, who has resigned. Mr. Barrack is Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Colony Capital, LLC. Miramax is privately owned by an investor group that is led by Colony Capital, LLC.

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Richard Nanula Takes Leave Of Absence From Miramax And Colony Capital After Sex Scandal

BREAKING… EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Few Hollywood business executives have as distinguished a record of success as Richard Nanula. Now Deadline has learned from Colony Capital that the former Walt Disney Company SEVP/CFO has taken an unexpected leave of absence for personal reasons from the investment firm where he is a Principal and Miramax, where he actively manages that entertainment banner’s strategy. There is no return date pending, which indicates his future with both companies is being left open. Nanula is now the second major movie/TV executive this year alleged to have crossed the line between personal and professional behavior because of a private sex scandal. In March, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication President Scott Sassa left after his company became aware of an extortion plot and sexting scandal involving a stripper. Nanula’s surprise leave of absence comes nearly two weeks after Deadline began receiving tips that TheDirty.com was identifying Nanula in online photos having sex with a porn star. That post now appears to have been removed by the website. But Deadline learned that another website, GenesisOnline, re-posted the story and screen shots under the headline Ex Disney Exec Shoots a Porno with Wicked Contract Girl Samantha Saint on June 18th and made allegations it had related “old texts” involving Nanula. (Deadline did not write about the online stories at the time because it doesn’t post about personal lives.)

Nanula received recognition when … Read More »

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Miramax’s Colony Capital Goes After Summit

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 »

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Miramax Raising $550M With $142M For Dividend To Colony Capital: Bloomberg

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.

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CANNES: Miramax Plots Content Play Through Acquisitions And Inherited Scripts By The Likes Of Anthony Minghella And Stephen Colbert

Mike Fleming

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 »

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Rob Lowe Signs Up For A ‘Knife Fight’

By | Thursday May 12, 2011 @ 10:14am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Just as Rob Lowe’s autobiography Stories I Only Tell My Friends makes its debut this weekend at #3 on The New York Times Bestseller Lists, he has signed on to star in Knife Fight, a Bill Guttentag film that deals with the dark side of political operatives. Lowe, who played senior White House aide Sam Seaborn in The West Wing and California senator Robert McCallister in Brothers and Sisters, this time will star in the lead role of a political crisis specialist who plays hard and tough in dealing with various October campaign surprises. The picture is coming together with the plan to shoot in San Francisco in June for release in October, 2012 for the Presidential Election. The film’s being put together independently through deluca films and Divisadero Pictures, with Mary Vernieu casting.

Lowe will be in Cannes this week for Miramax business, alongside Colony Capital business partner Tom Barrack.

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TOLDJA! Miramax Formalizes New CEO Hire

Mike Fleming

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.”

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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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Lagging Miramax Deal Delays Two Films

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Miramax transaction between owner Disney and soon-to-be new owners, construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital (led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula), won’t be finalized until the end of the year or soon after because of “strictly logistical reasons”. (“Standard practice in a deal of this magnitude,” one insider tells me.) As a result, it has impacted two movies: The Debt, which was supposed to be released on December 29th, and Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark the end of January. Now both pics are postponed until parent company Filmyard, which is what Tutor and Barrack are calling their new film company umbrella over Miramax, takes over. No new dates have been set.

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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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Former Disney CFO Richard Nanula Now Leading Ron Tutor’s Miramax Negotiations; “Bullet Train” Deal Could Close In A Week; Disney May Get Its $700M Asking Price; Harvey Weinstein Threatening Lawsuit

miramax_logo_blackEXCLUSIVE – UPDATED FROM 8:30 AM: Forget the bizarre involvement of David Bergstein, and Morgan Creek’s James Robinson, and even Rob Lowe. (I know, I know… I’ve learned Lowe may pull in Arnold Schwarzenegger post-November.) More on them in a minute. But they’re just the side show. Instead, I can report that, 5 days ago, Santa Monica-based Colony Capital, the private international investment firm which currently has $30 billion of assets under its management, was brought in by construction magnate Ron Tutor to help him buy Miramax from Disney. The reason? Because two years ago, Colony Capital president Tom Barrack hired 12-year Disney popular executive and former CFO Richard Nanula who’s now leading the Tutor negotiations with the Mouse House point man on the Miramax sale, Kevin Mayer, who’s EVP for Disney’s Corporate Strategy in the Business Development and Technology Group.

So, for the past five days, Nanula has organized a team of “25 guys working on it 24 hours a day” to get the deal done “like a bullet train”, I’ve learned — maybe as soon as next week. My insiders tell me that Disney could get very near to the $700 million price it’s recently wanted for Miramax — a big raise from the $625M, maybe even $650M max, which the Weinstein brothers/Ron Burkle/Fortress-Colbeck partnership seemed ready to pay until talks broke down. The reason is that Nanula and his team have now confirmed from due diligence that Miramax is sitting on a lot of cash, as much as $300M in receivables. That’s more than even the Weinstein partnership told me was out there.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned that Harvey is a Barrack pal, and the Weinstein bro is spitting mad that Tutor now looks to snag Miramax with Colony Capital’s help. “Harvey is very agitated,” an insider tells me. “He’s threatening litigation everywhere.” That’s vintage Harv: when he loses, he sues. Of course, the Weinstein brothers wanted to reclaim their former company because of its sentimental value: it’s named after their parents, Miriam and Max. To that end, I’ve previously reported how Harvey privately is warning to screw over anyone even thinking of buying Miramax. Under their exit deal in 2005, the Weinstein bros were able to retain a hold over sequel or reboot rights to films like Scream, Spy Kids and some other Dimension titles. Harv, in his inimitable way, has said he’ll do what he can to make developing those projects a nightmare.

Because the Tutor group has signed a non-disclosure agreement and entered into an exclusive negotiating period with Disney, no one is publicly commenting on anything. From Disney’s POV, it’s “still negotiating” with the Tutor group. But its comfort level has vastly improved now that Nanula has taken charge. The Harvard alum was the youngest CFO of a Fortune 500 company when he took the fiscal reins of the $22B corporation. He left in 1998 to become president and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts to work for his best friend Barry Sternlicht. Then Barrack snatched him up 2 years ago. Barrack, too, has tangential Disney ties. He worked with Robert Bass, one of the Texas billionaire Bass brothers whose 1983 investment rescued the Hollywood studio.

Meanwhile, on Nanula’s team is also Justin Chang whom Barrack hired in April as a principal responsible for extending the Colony brand into complementary areas. Chang most recently served as a partner of TPG Capital, the international private investment firm which took a bath on MGM.

I’ve learned that Tutor first approached Barrack last week “because he was queasy about the existing guys he had,” an insider tells me. “especially about David and the baggage he brings.” Before Tutor brought in Colony Capital, he was being advised by two of Hollywood’s most controversial and disliked figures: not just troubled film financier/distributor David Bergstein, whose film companies this year were placed in involuntary bankruptcy; but also his good friend, Morgan Creek’s James Robinson whose company has a mediocre track record. I understand that both men are being pushed aside now. Read More »

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Colony Capital Plans $500M Media Fund

By | Thursday July 1, 2010 @ 10:09am PDT

I’ve confirmed that Tom Barrack, president of California-based Colony Capital, is putting together a $500M media fund with of all people TV star Rob Lowe and a couple of other investors. Barrack, whose real estate investment firm co-owns Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch and stepped in to bail out photographer Annie Leibovitz after she couldn’t meet interest payments on a $24 million loan and faced losing her home, invests in entertainment businesses with a bricks-and-mortar component such as casinos or cinema chains (the Mars in Turkey). Colony Capital currently has $30 billion of assets under management.

Barrack and Lowe have been discussing their unnamed fund for some years but so far have bought nothing except for a new round of media attention during a recent London visit. “Barrack brought Rob the idea that there are a lot of media properties that need financing,” one insider tells me. They were spotted entering the fashionable C restaurant – Madonna’s favourite – to meet its owner Flavio Briatore, the Italian entrepreneur whose yacht was seized last month by Italian police for tax evasion. Lowe and Barrack were later seen at a party given by tennis star Boris Becker.

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