The Weinstein Company has confirmed Deadline’s scoop about it forming a VOD venture and naming Tom Quinn and Jason Janego to run it. The deal will certainly focus attention on the emergence of VOD as a lifeline to movies that either don’t have the commercial premise or the starpower for a wide theatrical release. Here’s the announcement from TWC:
New York (September 6, 2011) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that Tom Quinn and Jason Janego have joined forces with TWC Co-Chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein to create a new TWC label to bring new films and other specialty entertainment to audiences simultaneously across multiple digital and traditional platforms. Quinn and Janego will serve as Co-Presidents of the yet-to-be named label, which will be based in New York. The announcement was made by TWC COO David Glasser.
Quinn and Janego were among the first in the film industry to explore the potential of emerging digital platforms and were in the vanguard of developing new strategies for alternative distribution during their tenures at Magnolia Pictures, where they were Senior Vice President and Head of Legal & Business Affairs, respectively. In 2005, Magnolia became one of the first distributors to implement the day/date releasing, premiering Steven Soderbergh’s BUBBLE and Alex Gibney’s ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM simultaneously in select theaters and on DVD. Over the next several years they expanded on the premium VOD/theatrical platform model with such films as James Gray’s TWO LOVERS, Neil Marshall’s CENTURION, Takashi Miike’s 13 ASSASSINS, Alex Gibney’s CLIENT 9 and FREAKONOMICS, the documentary based on the bestseller, enabling these specialty and independent releases to compete alongside studio content.
The new label makes TWC the first studio to premiere select titles across multiple platforms via immediate-access digital and traditional media and will bring TWC’s unique, high-quality films to larger audiences than ever before. As Co-Presidents, Quinn and Janego will develop content and distribution strategies that move beyond the on-demand model, with a goal of establishing the new label as a marquee destination. Quinn and Janego will oversee acquisitions, productions and distribution of label content. Both will report to Harvey and Bob Weinstein and David Glasser in New York.
Quinn and Janego will be on-site at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival to begin scouting titles for the fledgling label. It is anticipated that the label will release its debut title in the first half of 2012.
Said Quinn and Janego, “Our experience in digital distribution has been eye-opening and inspiring; we see it as a new frontier for studios and for independent filmmakers of every stripe. It makes perfect sense that the godfathers of modern independent cinema, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, would be the first studio chiefs to launch a business dedicated to these new platforms, and we are thrilled to be working alongside them in this new venture. We can’t wait to get going.”
Commented Harvey and Bob Weinstein, “It’s an exciting time in filmmaking; technology has made film a more democratic medium than ever, for artists and audiences. There are just so many great movies being made all over the world, and the new digital platforms make it possible for more people than ever to see them. We are thrilled about launching this new label with Tom and Jason at the helm: not only are they innovators with a deep understanding of all things digital, they’re two guys who love movies like we do. In a lot of ways, this label is an expansion on the work we’ve been doing for more than 20 years, and with Tom and Jason aboard we think it will chart a path into the future.”
Added Glasser, “My tenure with TWC has coincided with seismic changes in the cinema landscape, particularly with respect to the digital revolution and the advent of new platforms for watching movies. Our new label represents a forward-thinking approach to an evolving marketplace, and is a natural step for us as a studio built on specialty films. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a realistic and exciting way to grow TWC as a studio while staying true to the love of film that is so strong in Harvey and Bob, and in our new partners, Tom and Jason.”
Previously, Quinn spent more than seven years at Magnolia Pictures as SVP and Head of Acquisitions. He created Magnet Releasing, Magnolia’s genre arm, the Six Shooter Series, as well as the annual Oscar Shorts Program. He’s acquired and distributed over 100 films including ONG BAK, MAN ON WIRE, THE HOST, WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN, JESUS CAMP, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED. His recent films include: PAGE ONE, MELANCHOLIA, 13 ASSASSINS, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, TROLLHUNTER, FREAKONOMICS, CENTURION, I AM LOVE, MONSTERS, and FOOD INC. His productions include: OUTRAGE, COCAINE COWBOYS 2, SPLINTER, and ABC’S OF DEATH. Quinn is also a programmer, having worked for Philadelphia, Atlanta, Woodstock, and ActionFest, a festival he was instrumental in creating. Prior to joining Magnolia, he was at Samuel Goldwyn for seven years, eventually becoming VP of Acquisitions, where he was responsible for acquiring RAISING VICTOR VARGAS and SUPER SIZE ME. Quinn’s first industry job was working in domestic film publicity for Nancy Willen at Dennis Davidson Associates.
Prior to joining TWC, Janego had his own consultancy and legal practice focusing on the development of innovative strategies for the production, financing and distribution of content in all areas of the entertainment business. In his career as an executive, lawyer, consultant, and producer’s representative, Janego has been involved with over 250 films. Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer at Big Beach Films, a New York-based production company whose credits include AWAY WE GO, IS ANYBODY THERE and SUNSHINE CLEANING. Before joining Big Beach, Janego was Head of Business & Legal Affairs for Magnolia Pictures, Magnolia Home Entertainment, and Landmark Theatres, all of which are subsidiaries of the vertically integrated media company Wagner/Cuban Entertainment. Janego has also worked at Miramax Films and with the film sales company Cinetic Media. Earlier in his career, he was employed as an attorney in the legal department of the NBC television network and with Artemis Records. He also serves on the Committee on Film at the Museum of Modern Art.