What will the world do when it no longer has Harvey Weinstein to kick around any longer? This isn't a rhetorical question, either — at least it doesn't feel that way after the latest in a growing stack of Weinstein Company pre-mortems hit the trades over the last 24 hours. BusinessWeek was first with a relatively tame primer on TWC's flagging slate, including Bob Weinstein's prediction that the $171,000-grossing John C. Reilly comedy The Promotion "may make us a few bucks" when the dust settles on home video. No rush, Bob — Wall Street and your 21-cent Genius Products shares can wait.
Not coincidentally, The Promotion was one of the Weinsteins' titles distributed by Third Rail Releasing, the de facto dumping arm where TWC's (often expensive) stepchildren once quietly went to die. But don't take our word for it; in perhaps the must-read Weinstein chronicle of the season, Harvey comes clean to THR's Gregg Goldstein:
In fact, the Weinstein Co. has created a new distribution label, Third Rail Releasing, to handle films like the recent Catherine Zeta-Jones vehicle Death Defying Acts. Acquired primarily for the home video market, the Weinstein Co. released it in just two theaters to fulfill contractual obligations. "We should have had Third Rail two years ago, because it's a good way of differentiating between what we really believe in, and what has been for ancillary value," Harvey said.
But if the theatrical release is, as the cliche goes, just publicity for the DVD, what does Death-Defying Acts' $5,095 (yes — four figures, one comma) gross represent for this "ancillary value"? Harvey! Baby! Listen: Nobody knows these fucking movies exist. And that ridiculous Showtime deal you made this week? Cable carriers generally only pay for movies their customers have heard of. And your analogy in the BusinessWeek profile — "We're like Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who won all those titles and everyone wanted them to fail"?
Oh, Harvey. We miss you already.