Miramax Library to become Franchise Factory
Ron Seifried | On 17, Dec 2013
Remember when Miramax was an innovative film company creating critically acclaimed independent and foreign vehicles that steamrolled their way toward numerous Oscar nominations and wins , thanks the ambitions of brother Harvey and Bob Weinstein? Well, some of those innovative original films are about to be fast tracked to franchise hell with the return of the Brothers Weinsteins to their old haunts.
Back in 2010, Qutar Holding and Colony Capitol purchased the Miramax library for $660 million from Walt Disney, who gained control of the company when the brothers left in 2005 to form The Weinstein Company. Now, with franchise mania sweeping all original projects off the table, the new Miramax is partnering up with The Weinstein Company to develop properties spearheaded by Bob and Harvey back in the 1990’s.
The new deal gives The Weinstein Company 20 years to develop projects based on the Miramax library. Titles include “Swingers,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Chicago,” “Scream” and many others. Under this deal, the companies will remain separate with Weinstein distributing domestically and Miramax handling International box office.
Plans for this new partnership include sequels to “Shakespeare in Love” and “Rounders, ”developing television series based on “Good Will Hunting,” “Flirting With Disaster” and “Swingers” and possible stage productions based on the Miramax films. Can a “Clerks” musical be in the pipeline?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “For a Shakespeare in Love sequel, Weinstein says he is eyeing British playwright James Graham (This House) to write a script, but he will not make a deal until the ink is dry on the new Weinstein Co.-Miramax partnership. There is no talent yet attached to a Swingers adaptation for the small screen, though Weinstein says the time is perfect for the project “in a post-Entourage marketplace.” Flirting With Disaster and Good Will Hunting also are being targeted as TV series. The new deal covers theater projects as well.”
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“It’s like unlocking a kingdom full of gold,” says Harvey Weinstein. “There is so much intellectual property, and we’re in an age where, for however long it lasts, content is king.”
Not original content mind you, but content nonetheless. This deal will make Miramax a sequel factory for the foreseeable future. With studio executive unwilling to develop original ideas, the Weinstein’s see the writing on the wall and have jumped on the franchise bandwagon. By the end of the 20 year deal in 2034, Miramax will without question remake their 1990s classic films for a new generation.
One good part from this announcement, are Miramax’s plans to develop for TV. Arguably, we are in the golden age of television and studios are taking notice. With the public now time shifting their viewing habits and the growing popularity of DVRs combined with binge watching, an expanded universe of popular characters from “Swingers” and “Good Will Hunting” may succeed with the right mix of talent.
This is an interesting shift in franchise building that moves away from the Sci-Fi/Pixar animated series of films that are being churned out ad nauseum.