The Weinstein Company

This is The Weinstein Company’s current logo.

Overview: The Weinstein Company (TWC) is an independent film production and distribution company creating both artistic, creative films and documentary pieces as well as an remaining an active member in the market of television production. Brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the same duo who created Miramax Films in 1979, founded The Weinstein Company on March 10, 2005. The Weinstein Company also includes Dimension Films, a separate company Bob Weinstein created in 1993 that specializes in more family-oriented and large franchises films. The Weinstein Company’s headquarters are located in New York, New York; TWC remains one of the few highly respected and influential production companies to do the majority business on the east coast. Both Bob and Harvey Weinstein remain Co-Chairmen for the company and are still very involved in all the company’s creative and distributive endeavors. [1], [2]

2012 Films

The Artist: The Artist was probably the most successful of the films The Weinstein Company distributed throughout 2011 (in order to be considered for the 2012 awards season). The Artist is a French love story about a movie star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), and an adoring fan, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), who are photographed together serendipitously at one of Valentin’s premieres. Miller, with the help of Valentine is able to put her dreams of being an actress in motion, while getting to know her unexpected friend, Valentin. Set in the romantic era of Paris in the late 1920’s/early 1930’s, this silent film did exceptionally well at all of the 2012 award shows. [3]

The Artist won five Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for the work Jean Dujardin as George Valentin. The Artist also won Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical at the 2012 Golden Globes, where Dujardin also won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comdey or Musical. Dujardin also won an award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor. The film has won a total of 107 awards, making it the most awarded French film ever. [3], [4]

The Weinstein Company was very proud to be a part of this project, even though they were only a piece of the puzzle, they were a very integral one at that. The Weinstein Company bought the distribution rights to The Artist in both the United States and Australia: two huge film consumer markets, especially for the film to be recognized by the prestigious American critics and award shows. They also helped with some of the “extras” that are now a necessity in creating a successful film, such as Behind the Scenes clips, Bonus Interviews, and other sweepstakes and contests. [5], [6]

My Week With Marilyn: My Week With Marilyn is another one of The Weinstein Company’s films that was highly celebrated in the 2012 awards season. This British film is based on the diaries turned literary works of Colin Clark who was a young British filmmaker in the 1950’s on the set of the Marilyn Monroe film The Prince and the Showgirl. Set in London in the 1950’s, Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne, is just a young assistant director on the set of Marilyn Monroe’s (Michelle Williams) latest movie directed by Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). Olivier is having a hard time connecting with Monroe and is struggling to please her, Clark uses his youth and enthusiasm to swoop in and become close to Monroe, as it is, for only a short week. [7]

Although My Week With Marilyn did not win any Oscars, both Williams and Branagh were nominated for their performances (Williams as a Leading Actress and Branagh as a Supporting Actor). However Williams did not walk away from all award shows empty handed: she won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Monition Picture – Comedy or Musical. [8]

The Weinstein Company had a much bigger part in the success of this popular film. First, Harvey Weinstein was one of the producers and leading monetary backers for this film. Weinstein was enthusiastic about this project as he had once read Clark’s books for fun and after reading Adrian Hodges’s script thought it was “quite good.” Harvey Weinstein was also excited to work with Michelle Williams again after her stellar performance in Blue Valentine. As Weinstein was a producer, some of the production was done through the Weinstein Company as well as a large portion of the distribution. [7], [9]

Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn

The Iron Lady: The Iron Lady is the final Weinstein Company project that was notable this awards season. The Iron Lady portrays the life of the longest serving 20thcentury Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher (played by Meryl Streep). This film is a cinematic biography of Thatcher’s time in politics intertwined with the way her personal life was affected by constantly being in the public eye. [10]

Many critics have indifferent or mixed feelings about the film as a whole, but most agree that Streep’s performance was outstanding, and this is reflected in the nominations the film received and won. Streep won the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for the first time in nearly 20 years. Streep also won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. The film as a whole did not receive any nominations. [11]

The Weinstein Company bought the distribution rights for the United States market and ensured that the film would be a success. The Weinstein Company helped with some marketing and focused mainly on Meryl Streep’s performance by offering behind the scenes interviews and various contests all revolving around her and her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. [10], [12]

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in the The Iron Lady

Netflix Deal: After the 2012 Awards Season, The Weinstein Company and Netflix partnered in creating a package where their share of the most respected films of the year will be available on the on-line streaming/home DVD delivery service before appearing on premium channels on cable providers (the norm). The titles, including ones like The Artist, Undefeated, Sarah’s Key, and The Intouchables will be available for instant streaming, so even those members on the “Instant Play Only” plan will be able to engage with the new, high-profile films available.  Netflix hopes that this deal with such a respected and esteemed film company will bring back the unexpectedly high number of customers who canceled their subscriptions last July after Netflix implemented a new subscription model. [13], [14]

The Bully ProjectThe Bully Project is a new Weinstein Company film out on March 30. It is a documentary that works to promote the end to bullying in schools by showing some of its traumatic and horrible stories and aftermaths. There have been many issues regarding this film because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was very strict with their rating, giving the film an ‘R’ because of the amount of obscene language used by some of the teenagers documented in the film. This initial rating ultimately hinders the film from reaching the demographic it was intended for: middle and high school students. At that point in early February, The Weinstein Company decided to move forward with releasing the documentary as scheduled on March 30, without a rating. However, as of early April, the MPAA changed the rating to PG-13 without making The Weinstein Company cut the controversial yet crucial scene. Director Lee Hirsch edited out obscene language from other scenes and because of this was able to leave the scene he believed to be the most important. The new rating came before the expansion date of April 13, when the film was going to be added to 55 new markets. [15]

 

References

[1] http://weinsteinco.com/about-us/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weinstein_Company
[3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/
[4] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/awards
[5] http://weinsteinco.com/news/the-artist-exclusive-clip-movie-magic/
[6] http://weinsteinco.com/news/the-artists-two-stars-talk/
[7] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655420/
[8] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655420/awards
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Week_with_Marilyn
[10] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1007029/
[11] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1007029/awards
[12] http://weinsteinco.com/news/meryl-streep-the-fresh-air-interview/
[13] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/netflix-weinstein-company-the-artist_n_1290887.html
[14] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/netflix-account-losses-q3-2011_n_1029269.html
[15] http://weinsteinco.com/news/pg-13-rating-granted-for-bully-by-mpaa-without-cutting-crucial-scene/

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