Weinstein Company

by Shawn Namet

The Weinstein Company logo

History

Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the founders of Miramax, launched The Weinstein Company in October 2005. The studio handles the production and distribution of films as well as production of television content. Weinstein Company films took home the Academy Awards for Best Picture in 2011 and 2012, for The King’s Speech and The Artist, respectively. The Weinstein Company also owns Dimension Films, a label started by Bob Weinstein in 1993, which has produced films like Scream and Scary Movie. [1]

Key Executives

Harvey Weinstein
Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Harvey Weinstein founded Miramax in 1979 with his brother Bob Weinstein. The two have been nominated for 303 Academy Awards between them, 75 of which they have won. [2]

Bob Weinstein
Courtesy of the New York Post

Bob Weinstein established Dimension Films in 1993 while still at Miramax. The Dimension Films label specializes in science fiction, action, and horror films like Piranha, Grindhouse, and Sin City, as well as family films like Spy Kids. [3]

 

Financials

After finishing 2012 in eighth place among film distributors with a 2.4% market share, the Weinstein Company has moved up to second place with a 12.1% market share as of April 4, 2013. The smaller independent studio beat out most of the major studios in box office grosses for the first quarter with $282.4 million in revenue, up from $75.6 million at the same time last year. The lead may not hold, however, since the upcoming Summer season of blockbuster action films like Iron Man 3 is sure to give larger studios a boost that could take them the top of the box office rankings. The studio climbed the list thanks to high grosses from Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained, which also garnered critical acclaim and numerous Oscar nominations. [4] [5] [6]

Recent Film Releases

Silver Linings Playbook

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Director David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, adapted from a book by Matthew Quick, is the story of Pat Solitano, a man struggling with bipolar disorder who is released from his court ordered stay in a mental institution and attempts to put his life in order and win back his wife. Pat then meets the recently widowed Tiffany, who convinces him to compete in a dance competition as a way to prove himself to his wife. [7]

Silver Linings Playbook began its theatrical run in a limited release in only 16 theaters, but would eventually spread across the country to play in more than 2,800 theaters in its twelfth week. [8]

The film has made a total domestic gross of almost $130 million on a budget of just $21 million, and received an average review score of 81 out of 100, representing universal acclaim from major film critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. The film went on to receive eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won lead actress Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar. [6] [8] [9]

Django Unchained

Courtesy of the Weinstein Company

The latest in a series of director Quentin Tarantino’s collaborations with the Weinstein Company, Django Unchained, follows a slave, Django, who is freed and recruited by bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. The pair track down and attempt to rescue Django’s wife at a plantation owned by the brutal Calvin Candie.[10]

Tarantino’s first foray into the western genre made $30 million dollars for it’s Christmas release, and went on to gross a total more than $162 million domestically. Like Silver Linings, Django received universal acclaim on Metacritic with an average review score of 81 out of 100. The film received five Academy Award nominations, winning in both the Original Screenplay category as well as the Supporting Actor category for Christoph Waltz’s performance as Dr. Schultz. [11] [12] [6]

Despite the critical and commercial success of Django Unchained, the picture drew criticism for the consistent use of racial slurs in the film’s dialogue. Director Spike Lee was especially outspoken on the issue. Controversy does not appear to have harmed the film’s box office revenues or Oscar hopes, and in fact brought the film more publicity and visibility in the news media. [13]

Upcoming Projects

Big Eyes

Tim Burton
Courtesy of Biography.com

The Weinstein Company is in the process of completing a deal to fund and distribute the next film from popular director Tim Burton, titled Big Eyes. The film is based on the true story of Walter and Margaret Keane, a couple who found success in creating some of the first mass marketed artwork, selling their paintings through retailers across the United States until their partnership and marriage bitterly ended. Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams are set to star.

Many of Burton’s recent films have been highly successful at the box office, with his film Alice in Wonderland grossing over $334 million domestically. Given Burton’s current popularity and the dedicated fan base he has gathered, Big Eyes could be a boost for the studio, even though the subject matter may not lend itself to a large scale event film like Alice. [14] [15]

Early Oscar Contenders

The Weinstein Company has already begun laying out release dates for some of its Oscar hopefuls, focusing on the traditional year end award season. The first will be August: Osage County, a dark comedy with an ensemble cast including  Meryl Streep, Sam Shepard, and Julia Roberts. The studio has also acquired the distribution rights to Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury and Audience Award, Fruitvale, which is also likely to be an awards contender.

Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monaco”
Courtesy of guardian.co.uk

In recent months the company has also announced acquisition of United States distribution rights for two high-profile biopics that are likely to garner nominations in acting categories. The Weinsteins will distribute Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as classic Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, as well as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which will star Idris Elba as South African president and apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. [16]

Coming Soon

The Weinstein Company has begun promoting Only God Forgives, starring Ryan Gosling. A May 2013 release date has been announced for France, hinting at a showing at the Cannes Film Festival. [17]

The studio’s next film to release will be Scary Movie 5, the newest installment in the horror parody franchise. The film is expected to draw in an established fan base, and advertisements show a focus on cameos from celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. [18]

 Sources

 

[1] About the Weinstein Company

[2] About Harvey Weinstein

[3] About Bob Weinstein

[4] Box Office Mojo – Studio Market Share

[5] Hollywood Reporter – Box Office Report

[6] Cinema Blend – Oscar Nominations and Winners

[7] IMDb -Silver Linings Playbook

[8] Box Office Mojo Silver Linings Playbook

[9] Metacritic – Silver Linings Playbook

[10] IMDb – Django Unchained

[11] Box Office Mojo – Django Unchained

[12] Metacritic – Django Unchained

[13] LA Times – Django Unchained controversy rages on

[14] Deadline – Tim Burton to direct ‘Big Eyes’

[15] Box Office Mojo – Alice in Wonderland

[16] Indiewire – Weinstein Company sets Oscar release dates

[17] Latinos Post – Cannes Film Festival predictions 2013

[18] Scary Movie 5 website

 

 

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