EXCLUSIVE: The Toronto Film Festival doesn’t start for a couple of days, but already I hear there are some surprises in store. Sources tell me that The Weinstein Company is finalizing plans to launch a new video-on-demand division. I’ve heard that Harvey Weinstein is finishing a deal to bring aboard Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, both of whom were integral in building the VOD business of Magnolia Pictures.
How this factors into the way that TWC does business at Toronto will be very interesting. From last Toronto to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival in May, TWC has been the most prolific distributor acquiring films. While TWC got in the game very early on last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner The King’s Speech, much of TWC’s upcoming awards-season slate — from The Artist to The Iron Lady, The Wettest County in the World and W.E. — were all festival acquisitions. Those films were bought for competitive acquisition prices with P&A commitments that reflected theatrical release plans. While there will undoubtedly be a couple of those films that will begin premiering for buyers at Toronto later this week, Toronto always contains gems that are coveted by boutique distributors whose business models consists of small theatrical releases and big VOD plans. Another big competitor has just stepped into the mix for those films. TWC did not comment.
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