We’ve confirmed reports from this afternoon that Viacom is in the lead for a portion of the Miramax library, though no deal is done and talks are ongoing. This comes in the wake of Lionsgate withdrawing its bid to focus on growing its core business.
That said, Lionsgate’s current worldwide home entertainment rights deal (packaged and digital) to the Miramax library, which it has had for the past seven years, remains intact. We understand that 30%-50% of the Miramax film library is up for sale as owner beIN Media Group seeks to maintain a controlling stake in the 700-title library built by Harvey and Bob Weinstein that includes Pulp Fiction and Best Picture Oscar winners Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient and Chicago. Reports peg the value of that stake at around $100M.
When news broke back in June about beIN’s interest in selling a portion of the library, a $650M number was floated, but sources who had experience with the library — which is chock-full of arthouse titles — said that $325M-plus for the entire asset was more reasonable. Filmyard paid Disney $663M back in 2010, but that consisted of close to $300M in cash receivables. Miramax was acquired by BeIN from Colony Capital in 2016.
Under CEO Bill Block, Miramax has been aiming to capitalize on the titles in its library. Last year, in conjunction with Blumhouse and Universal, there was a reboot of Halloween from the library that grossed $255.4M worldwide. Next up for Miramax is Guy Ritchie’s shoot-em-up The Gentleman, already being released by STX. In fact, Miramax is in business with Viacom’s Paramount TV Studios as they’re co-developing a TV series based on the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow fantasy drama Sliding Doors. The movie written and directed by Peter Howitt followed a London woman on two hypothetical paths, one where she gets home early and catches her boyfriend in bed with another woman, the other where she doesn’t. No writer has been attached to the new project yet. There’s been buzz of a No Country for Old Men series being in early development as well.
Sources tell us that with Viacom merging with CBS, they remain in a stronger financial position to take on the Miramax library, not to mention — as media companies seek to have a hand in the current streaming environment — a film catalog comes in quite handy. Viacom bought the free, ad-supported Pluto streaming service in January for $340M. CBS has its own streaming services, Showtime and CBS All Access, which are expected to count 25M subscribers by 2022.
Bloomberg first reported today’s news today about Viacom taking the lead in the Miramax deal.
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