By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
As four top executives, including chief operating officer David Glassner, leave The Weinstein Company in the same week, Hollywood is speculating that Harvey Weinstien‘s company may be on the ropes. But the founder of ver. 2.0 of The Weinstein Company says that business has never been in better shape. What’s going on?
“We got our ass kicked in 2008. But, no bullshit, I think the company financially is the best it’s ever been right now.” – Harvey Weinstein, interview with The Hollywood Reporter
Glassner plans to officially leave The Weinstein Company in November, after six years keeping the lights on as COO. The other execs who have abandoned ship includes Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, who have been running Weinstein’s boutique Radius label. Having worked together at Magnolia Pictures before founding Radius for Weinstein, Quinn and Janego are planning to create yet another distribution company.
This isn’t the first time execs have left Weinstein high and dry, either. In 2014, TV president Meryl Poster and marketing head Stephen Bruno also sought greener pastures.
“It’s sad to lose Tom and Jason and especially David, and in good part because of them — especially David — they are leaving us in great shape. The TV company is a serious producer of great revenue. We’ve also diversified into animation. And look at the film lineup, we have a lot set and locked in place.” – Harvey Weinstein
Harvey moved quickly to remind the industry that The Weinstein Company shows no sign of slowing down, having expanded into animation as well and an ambitious lineup of television and feature films for the remainder of 2015 and 2016. Much of those deals include the Netflix historical drama Marco Polo, Project Runway, and a 10-part mini-series about the Russian Mob which is coming in 2015.
Film-wise, 2015 was a bit lackluster, with their biggest hit being Paddington, which made a modest $260 million worldwide, a box office failure here in the U.S. Coming is the action thriller No Escape starring Owen Wilson, and Quentin Tarantino‘s western drama The Hateful Eight.
But some believe that Weinstein’s stalled TV deal with ITV leading to speculation that Weinstein’s company is cash poor as a result. The aborted partnership with ITV may have been due to Weinstein being unwilling to sell the TV arm outright, but instead looking for international production partners. This delay has led many talent deals to go unfunded for the foreseeable future. But even Glassner said that there’s an ebb and flow to acquisitions and that sometimes a delay is just part and parcel of the business.
“When you’re in the acquisitions business, that’s just standard protocol,” Glassner defended. “You don’t see us sitting out there with 20, 10 or even one vendor in a legal dispute, so I don’t know where that stems from. If you look at the slate that Harvey has in front of him, and even go out until the end of next year, it’s single-handedly one of the best slates the company has had.
“It just came the time that I was ready to move on. My kids are getting older. And I’ve done everything here that I wanted to do,” says Glassner.
So if the days are so rosey, why are Glassner and his lieutenants leaving? Well, sometimes it’s best to leave to strike out on your own, rather than be pushed out. And even Weinstein admits, being under him is no picnic. “I know I’m not easy to work for,” he says, “but at a certain point, I am easy to work for after a baptism by fire.”
Hat Tip – THR