Lantern Entertainment today completed its acquisition of The Weinstein Co.’s assets, representing a fresh start for an entertainment company formed from the rubble of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct scandal.
A library of 270 films, unreleased movies and a slate of scripted and unscripted television shows constitute the foundation of the newly formed studio with the ambitious stated goal of being “one of the pre-eminent homes for talent.”
“Over the last several months, we have immersed ourselves in the formation of Lantern Entertainment,” Co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic said in a statement. “Throughout all our conversations with employees, creatives and industry professionals, we re inspired by the collective commitment and support extended to the launch of our new company.”
The $289 million transaction represents the final chapter for The Weinstein Co., which plunged into financial crisis last fall, after The New York Times and New Yorker magazine published allegations of rape and sexual harassment by the studio’s co-founder. A last-minute financial rescue, orchestrated by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet and Yucaipa Co.’s Ron Burkle, collapsed, sending the company into bankruptcy.
The U.S. bankruptcy court awarded Lantern Entertainment the assets, as the lone qualified bidder for the remains of The Weinstein Co. Disagreements over who should pay the millions owed actors, directors and producers for their participation in studio projects threatened to derail the deal.
In the end, The Weinstein Co. agreed to a $21 million price reduction for its assets, and Lantern set aside an $8.75 million fund to cover participation and other claims.
An industry newcomer, Lantern Entertainment is guided by industry veterans Steve Beeks, Alexa Platt and Lauren Zalaznik, who will serve as advisors, guiding the company’s future.
Among the films acquired with the transaction are Academy Award winners The King’s Speech and The Artist, and such box office hits as Inglourious Basterds, Silver Linings Playbook, The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained and genre franchises Scary Movie and Children of the Corn.
Lantern Entertainment’s unreleased feature films are headlined by The Upside, starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman, and The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon.