Weinstein Company

By Mark DiBona

The Weinstein Company Logo

The Weinstein Company (TWC) was founded in October 2005 by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, following their departure from the film studio Miramax, which they had founded 26 years earlier in 1979. Since its founding, the studio has earned a reputation for consistently putting out commercial and critical successes. Their films have had a continuous presence at the Academy Awards, including two consecutive best picture wins for The King’s Speech in 2010 and The Artist in 2011. The studio also owns Dimension Films, a genre studio founded by Bob Weinstein, best known for various horror films as well as the Spy Kids series. [1]

Key Executives

Harvey Weinstein, courtesy of TIME Magazine

Harvey Weinstein co-founded the company with his brother Bob Weinstein and has served as its co-chairman since. Weinstein also produces many of his studio films, which has led to him personally winning a best picture Oscar in 1998 for producing Shakespeare in Love during his tenure with Miramax. [2]

Bob Weinstein, courtesy of The Wrap

Bob Weinstein, in addition to co-founding The Weinstein Company and serving as its co-chairman, founded the studio Dimension Films in 1993. Focused on genre films, the studio has released such notable films as the Scream series, the Spy Kids series, and Sin City. [3]

Financials

Among the most prominent of the mini-majors, TWC has continually increased its presence since its founding in 2005. In 2012, the studio had a 2.57% market share with a combined film gross of $278, 608, 624 from 21 releases. So far in 2013, they hold a 4.78% market share with a combined $441,224,429 gross thanks to the runaway success of The Butler as well as holdovers from late releases of the previous year such as Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook, which also allowed them to end the first quarter of 2013 second in marketshare. [4], [5]

Awards

The Weinstein Company has earned a reputation as a perennial major player at the Academy Awards. Between Miramax and TWC there are 303 Oscar nominations and 75 wins. TWC alone has earned 7 best picture nominations and 2 wins since its founding. Much of this success is attributed to the Weinstein brothers, and Harvey in particular is known for his aggressive marketing techniques. For Silver Linings Playbook, which earned 8 nominations and 1 win, the cast appeared on various talk shows and discussed their personal connections to the film, such as this appearance on Katie where the director, David O. Russell, and stars Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper talk about their experiences with bipolar disorder, which is central to the film. . [1]

The Butler

Courtesy of imdb.com

Released on August 16th 2013, Lee Daniels’ The Butler details the story of an African-American man who serves as White House butler for 34 years and is inspired by a true story. It stars Forest Whitaker in the title role and Oprah Winfrey as his wife as well as featuring numerous cameos from actors like Robin Williams and John Cusack. It became a box office hit, earning $115,474,000 domestically and $31,192,066 in the foreign market against a $30 million budget and managed to hold the #1 spot for 3 of its first 4 weeks. [6]

The film is already being touted as a contender for the Academy Awards, with a possible Best Picture nomination. [7]

However, the film gained some notoriety when Harvey Weinstein publically attempted to fight the MPAA board’s decision that the film be renamed due to a 1916 Warner Brothers’ film called The Butler. This ultimately led to the film adding director Lee Daniels’ name into the title. [8]

Fruitvale Station

Courtesy of imdb.com

A smaller scale film, Fruitvale Station is a dramatization of the last day in the life of Oscar Grant III who was tragically shot on January 1st 2013 by a cop. Starring Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer, the film earned a respectable $16 million at the box office against a minuscule budget but earned critical acclaim, holding a 94% on Rottentomatoes. The Film also received large support and praise from celebrities including LeBron James, Oprah Winfrey, and drummer for The Roots, Questlove. [9], [10]

August: Osage County

Courtesy of imdb.com

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name, August: Osage County is set for December 25th Release Date. Dealing with a large family who reunite in the Oklahoma house they grew up in following a crisis, the film features a large ensemble cast including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ewan McGregor. [11]

Originally considered to be a potential huge contender at the Oscars and frontrunner for Best Picture, mixed reactions from its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival have somewhat subdued these predictions. However, the film is still expected to earn at least a few nominations and also gather a large box office draw against its $25 million budget due to the presence of its stars. [12], [13]

The Future of the Weinstein Company

Courtesy of USA Today

On August 20th, TWC announced a groundbreaking multi-year deal with Netflix. The deal will make Netflix the sole subscription service for first-run films from TWC starting in 2016. The Weinstein Company already enjoyed a healthy relationship with the streaming service, using it as a pay TV home for their documentaries and various films including 2011 best picture winner, The Artist, but this deal has been described by Harvey Weinstein as “the biggest deal in the history of The Weinstein Company.” [14]

One of the most anticipated film projects beyond 2013 is Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the long-delayed sequel to the 2005 film Sin City. As the first film earned over $158 million against a $40 million budget, the sequel is expected to do well and has been given a summer release date. It will feature a large cast of stars including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, and Jessica Alba. [15], [16]

Other 2014 releases include Tim Burton’s Big Eyes starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams and The Giver based on the beloved young adult novel. [17]

Looking ahead, The Weinstein Company is shaping up to continue to increase its market presence and climb to the top of the mini-major studios. Through continuous presentation of quality films with savvy marketing and its expansion into new fields, TWC should continue to experience success in the near future.

Sources

1. About the Weinstein Company
2. About Harvey Weinstein
3. About Bob Weinstein
4. The Numbers
5. Weinstein Co. Beats Most Majors in First Quarter
6. Boxofficemojo
7. Gold Derby Best Picture Predictions
8. “The Butler” Title Fight
9.Boxofficemojo, “Fruitvale Station”
10. The Official Fruitvale Station Tumblr
11. August: Osage County
12.August: Osage County early reviews, a mixed bag at TIFF
13. The Guardian
14. The Weinstein Co. Agrees to Exclusive Streaming Deal With Netflix
15. Boxofficemojo, “Sin City”
16. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
17. Rope of Silicon

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