My understanding is that The Weinstein Company only paid $2 million for the U.S. rights to Tom Ford’s debut picture A Single Man featuring Colin Firth who won best actor win at the Venice Film Festival. At first, the transaction was hyped as a “fierce all-night” bidding war between Focus Features, Summit Entertainment, and The Weinstein Company orchestrated by CAA. But both Summit and Focus expressed a lot of interest but sources claim they did not make any formal offer. So bidding war is a big stretch when it sounds like TWC may have been the only serious bidder. Indeed, Summit execs circled until 1:30 AM and then went to sleep. Focus Features also dropped out early. Harvey Weinstein clinched the deal by finding out Ford’s hotel room prior to the screening, knocking on the door, shmoozing him, and then being all over him after. The clincher was Harv’s passionate insistence that he would deliver Ford “an Oscar”. (That’s how Weinstein would get all those hot movie stars to star for puny money in his Miramax films.) Nobody shmoozes better than Weinstein on that front. But Ford never questioned Harv where the money is going to come from. Nor did they discuss how under-restructuring Weinstein Company is a gutted biz with all the recent layoffs. Or that a slew of other promised 2009 releases have been pushed back against their filmmakers’ will. Meanwhile, the buzz is that A Single Man, while a good film, is still a tricky film with an upside of only $10M gross at the U.S. box office and no more. Bidding for the adaptation of a novel by Christopher Isherwood was orchestrated by Ford’s pal Bryan Lourd with Roeg Sutherland. Weinstein made his purchase after TWC’s The Road was blanked at Venice. TWC also bought the German rights to Ford’s pic, committed to a 2009 release, and pledged spending for an Oscar campaign.
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