EXCLUSIVE: In his first move back into the movie business since the implosion of The Weinstein Company, former TWC co-chairman Bob Weinstein has launched Watch This Entertainment. The shingle is a boutique development and production company that will develop to produce two to three films per year, with a primary focus on family films, comedies and upscale adult thrillers.
His goal is to create IP ownership, and the first project is Endangered, an animated family adventure film that Weinstein will produce with Tea Leoni. She will lend her voice to one of the lead characters. The film will be directed by the French animation collective known as Illogic, a team nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 for their animated short Garden Party. The collective, which will write the script, is made up of Florian Babikian, Victor Caire, Théophile Dufresne, Gabriel Grapperon and Lucas Navarro.
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Endangered is inspired by the book written by Tim Flach, a leading wildlife photographer who took the photos that illustrate the book. Illogic will build a narrative around endangered animals.
Weinstein, who exited TWC after helping to wind down the company as it plunged into bankruptcy because of the alleged sexual assault scandals involving his co-chairman brother Harvey, isn’t planning to return to the distribution business with his new venture. After co-running running Miramax, Dimension Films and then TWC for decades, his goal here is way more modest. He put up some of his own money and pooled it with other investors to be able to acquire and develop a few films each year, developing them in house and looking for distribution later.
Running the company for Weinstein will be Pantea Ghaderi, who was formerly the executive vice president of Publicity at Dimension Films. She will take the title of President of Creative Development and was integral in bringing on the animation team Illogic to direct Endangered.
“Tea and I have been close friends over the years and I knew she was interested in producing movies in addition to acting,” Weinstein said. “I had recently read Endangered by Tim Flach and I thought Tea would fall in love with the imagery and concept as much as I did. We both wanted to do something new in making an animated film. We’ve already been working together for several months on the project and it’s been a positive collaboration. Our hope is to make an entertaining movie with an inspiring message for families.”
Said Leoni: “When Bob brought me the idea of making Endangered into an animated film, I was thrilled. The book lends itself beautifully to animation. I was then introduced to Pantea who shared with us the brilliant vision of the French animation collective Illogic and we knew the film could not be in better creative hands. This is a unique and meaningful project and I am really looking forward to collaborating with the entire team on this.”
Leoni is repped by her attorney Peter Nelson at Nelson David LLP; Weinstein is repped by attorney Mickey Mayerson at Paul Hastings.
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