How in the world do the Weinsteins think they can pull this crap and expect no one to find out about it? Here’s what REALLY happened, according to my insiders: Richard Saperstein yesterday was told he was axed as president of production of Dimension. “I just got fired,” he told pals. Then today suddenly Saperstein is informed, no, he’s not fired. “What’s happening is that he has [time] to go on his contract, and it’s a large sum, and the Weinsteins don’t want to cash him out. So now it’s all about lawyers,” a source explained to me. “They’re crazy.” How crazy? Well, Saperstein was responsible for their hit movie, 1408, now in theaters. And he recently closed the deal to remake David Cronenberg’s seminal 1981 Scanners after stalking it for years. (The New Line veteran optioned the rights when heading production for Artisan Pictures in 2002, and, when those rights lapsed this year, he and the Weinsteins went after them). But he also oversaw production of Grindhouse. (After all, Harvey and Bob couldn’t possibly blame themselves, right?) Amazing that The Weinstein Co this afternoon just issued this company statement to me: “Richard Saperstein has not been fired. He remains an employee of the company.” People, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
I’m trying to pin down exactly how much time is left on Saperstein’s contract. One source told me today it was 18 months. But I saw that Saperstein joined as executive vice-president of Dimension Film under co-chairman Bob Weinstein when The Weinstein Co was started in June 2005. Then in April 2006, Saperstein was elevated to prez of production at Dimension and supposedly reupped for five years. News reports at the time said he’d drawn a three-year extension on his contract and an option for another two years. If all this is correct, then the Weinsteins would have to pay him a not-so-small fortune. No wonder they’re hiding behind semantics.