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 Copland. The 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.
I’ve also learned that Barrack and former Miramax cofounder Harvey Weinstein just spent time in St Tropez conferring about ways to work together. Relations between them were chilly after 2010’s bruising bidding battle to acquire Miramax from Disney which Colony won to Weinstein’s chagrin. “They’re thinking about putting parts of Humpty Dumpty back together again,” an insider tells me. “Lots of joint venture opportunities.” Co-productions also would give Harvey access to his most coveted projects from the Miramax heyday which is what he wanted from any purchase. Other companies 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 says.
The Miramax-Starz TV project is a takeoff on the feature film’s plot of a suburban New Jersey sheriff who slowly discovers the town is a front for mob connections and corruption. No one knows mob better than Starz chief Chris Albrecht who put The Sopranos on HBO. Pic starred Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta. Though produced when Harvey ran Miramax, I understand Weinstein will have no involvement in the TV show.
On July 8th, the global film and television studio announced that Barrack had been named Chairman, effective immediately, replacing Nanula who resigned after a sex scandal. Barrack, who is Chairman/CEO of Santa Monica-based Colony Capital, led the private investor group which owns Miramax whose purchase was orchestrated by former Disney executive Nanula. The exec actively managed that entertainment banner’s strategy. But in fact there was little action after Deadline was first to report that he was putting Colony Capital into the entertainment business with the $663M acquisition of the valuable Miramax valuable library. The strategy was to put Miramax back into the producing business and widen its reach to overseas. But little seemed to be happening and Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund which helped back Colony’s acquisition of Miramax, has reportedly expressed frustration that Miramax has not grown more. Certainly the indieprod has occupied a low-key position within Hollywood in the past 18 months after a flurry of initial media announcements.
Nikki Finke is currently on vacation.