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Weinsteins partner with new Miramax to produce sequels to films including 'Shakespeare in Love'

December 16, 2010 | 12:07 pm

ShakespeareLove Bob and Harvey Weinstein are back in business with Miramax Films.

The independent film mogul brothers, who earlier this year lost out on a bid to buy back from Walt Disney Co. the specialty label they founded, have signed a deal to partner with the new owners of Miramax to produce sequels and spinoffs to 10 movies that they made in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The first three Miramax-owned movies that The Weinstein Co. expects to produce new installments to are the Oscar-winning romantic comedy "Shakespeare in Love," the dark comedy "Bad Santa" and the 2005 remake of "The Amityville Horror." Weinstein Co. also has the right to produce sequels or television series based on "Bridget Jones' Diary," "Clerks," "Rounders," "From Dusk Til Dawn," "Copland" and "Shall We Dance."

Miramax, which is newly owned by private equity company Colony Capital, investor Ron Tutor, and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, will have the right to co-finance the movies and own a 50% stake in the new movies produced by Weinstein Co., a person familiar with the agreement said. If Miramax declines to provide the funding, the company will receive 5% of the movies' gross revenue.

The deal terms are similar to ones Weinstein Co. made with Disney for sequel rights to 16 movies from the Miramax library including "Scream" and "Spy Kids" as part of their 2005 divorce settlement in 2005. Weinstein Co. will release "Scream 4" and "Spy Kids 4" next year.

After a deal for the Weinsteins and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle to acquire Miramax fell apart at the last minute this summer, it had seemed that the brothers wouldn't be involved with the studio for a while. But as the Miramax sale closed this fall, the Weinsteins were put in touch with Miramax's new chief executive Mike Lang by Jim Wiatt, the former chief executive of talent agency William Morris who knows all three men.

"Harvey and Bob came to us during the sale process," said Lang. "And our view was that I don't care about the issues in the past, it's a great opportunity to do a deal with them on films they are so very well positioned to make."

While Miramax, which is moving into offices in Santa Monica, is not producing new movies for its first couple of years, Lang is looking to partner with other studios to make sequels based on titles from its library or to acquire projects that were in development at Disney.

As part of the new agreement, Miramax will have certain digital distribution rights to the new sequels produced by Weinstein Co. Lang has extensive experience working on websites such as Hulu and MySpace from his previous job at News Corp. and is expected to aggressively push Miramax's 700-plus library titles onto new devices and platforms via partnerships with companies such as YouTube and Netflix.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in 1998's "Shakespeare in Love." Credit: Laurie Sparham / Miramax Films.

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