There aren't a lot of wheels left to fly off at the Weinstein Company, where as many as five executives are now expected to have made their exits by the end of the year. Add on the news that its previous Oscar hopeful The Road is officially shelved until 2009 while Bob Weinstein reportedly invests upward of $60 million in straight-to DVD releases for next year (a market he badmouthed as recently as last week), and your Weinstein DeathWatch countdown may have just acquired new, accelerated momentum. Watch the casualties mount after the jump.Today's Hollywood Reporter notes that TWC's bosses of acquisition and production Michelle Krumm and Maeva Gatineau left through the back door at the beginning of October, while production execs Michael Cole and Carla Gardini will follow with marketing VP Gary Faber in short order. All were Miramax veterans at the end of their first contracts with TWC. Harvey says he intends to replace them, and with Inglourious Basterds [sic] currently shooting in Germany and Rob Marshall's musical Nine on the way soon after, face-value presumes to believe him. But we'd much sooner believe he'd sell the operation for parts — Basterds, Nine, the just-shelved Forest Whitaker drama Hurricane Season, Fanboys, Shanghai and anything else Fox Searchlight, Focus Features, Flopz™ or another willing suitor can squeeze into a shopping cart on a 60-second spree through the storage locker. (Sorry, though, Lifetime — you still can't have Project Runway.) Even if The Reader can surmount its rush-job ego drama to make a legit awards-season run, whatever prestige accompanies it will wind up attributed to everybody but poor Harvey. It's almost pitiable. Almost. In the end, the Weinstein brothers' public incompetence is really too willful to lament and too insistent to shock. Take today's Variety item, for example, in which Bob Weinstein, whose genre arm Dimension has itself survived without a production president since buying out Richard Saperstein last year, announced a greenlight for 18 titles to be produced this fall and released to straight to the Dimension Extreme DVD label in 2009. (This coming the same day Dimension shelved its Cormac McCarthy adaptation The Road indefinitely.) They're all franchise installments or remakes — Pulse 2, Midnight Man 2 and 3, Children of the Corn, Chapter XXIV, etc. — budgeted between $3 million and $6 million. “Having learned how profitable a video library is and having already found great success launching franchises on video, this was a natural and obvious progression,” Bob told the trade. Contrast that with his appearance sitting in for Harvey last week at Nielsen's Media and Money conference, where the Reporter cited his bearishness toward a "dwindling DVD market" and the vague hope that he might be lucky enough to exploit that library — not $75 million in new productions — through VOD and Web downloads. Is the Weinsteins' output deal with Showtime richer than we thought? And with almost as many empty desks as delayed titles left in the office, who is selling these films? How are they even getting made? That said, Zack and Miri Make a Porno will probably open in the Top 3 next week with little more than stick figures on its poster and morbidly obese Kevin Smith regaling America with his stories of broken toilets, so what do we know? As you were, Harvey, we guess.
- Exodus at Weinstein Co. [THR]
- Dimension adds to video business [Variety]