Q&A: David C. Glasser
EmptyAll eyes are on new Weinstein Co. international sales head David C. Glasser at this year's AFM. As one of the few longtime U.S.-based film sales heavyweights, Glasser's hire was a coup for Harvey and Bob, especially given the large portion of their income derived from overseas sales. He steps into the shoes of the division's founder, Glen Basner, who recently left the Weinsteins to set up his own company. Glasser's new leadership will be tested by what may be the toughest economic climate ever for indies. He discusses his challenges and goals with The Hollywood Reporter's New York film reporter Gregg Goldstein.
The Hollywood Reporter: People always seem to be asking, "What's happening with the Weinstein Co.?" Given talk about executives leaving and the financial health of the company, how are you going to address people's questions and concerns at AFM?
David C. Glasser: First, as Harvey said in an article recently, every company has comings and goings. I'm a testament to that, because the reality is I wouldn't have left as secure a position as I had if I had even one question in my mind. And I think Weinstein, as Bob said, is in a growth phase. I very simply answer that question in the best way: Look at the slate. Look at what's being delivered and what's shooting. From a stability standpoint, I don't think the company could be stronger on its slate, and decisions made recently by Harvey and Bob to focus on the product that they're making. What I think people don't focus on is the incredible team at Weinstein, and this team is stronger than ever. The reason I left (YFG) was to be part of that.
THR: So buyers can feel confident that the company will be there to see them through as these films get released, say, in a year or so?
Glasser: Yes, absolutely. 100 percent.
THR: You've taken the reins of a huge, consistent revenue arm for the Weinsteins. How are you going to change or steer the direction of it, and bring your experience into it?
Glasser: Harvey and Bob are both extremely involved in the division as well, so we're studying the films we're going to make eight, 12 months from now and saying "How is that going to do around the world?" Just because we have an output deal or know we can sell (films), we (still) want to make sure that we are picking the right products, because Harvey and Bob are looking at it as marketing around the world. For me, it's business as usual: I'm the international head and have a great team, with Michael (Rothstein) and Jonathan (Kier). It's just working with Harvey and Bob and (their) vision for what kind of product they want to make.
THR: Are you helping steer them to the kind of projects that would have wider appeal, as with the international casts in "Nine" and "Shanghai?"
Glasser: Absolutely. More than ever, there's a symbiotic relationship between Harvey, Bob and the international end, and they're very open. Last night, we had this huge conversation talking about the kind of the pictures we want to make, how they're going to work and who we're really focusing on, making sure we're making the right decisions for our partners around the world.
THR: How do think this year's AFM will be in light of the global economic meltdown?
Glasser: I think AFM is going to be tough, so we said "OK, let's look at the economic marketplace and focus on the pictures that are going to really help our guys." It's causing tighter budgets, so we made the decision to focus attention on helping buyers get everything they need. You can't go out into the marketplace and sell eight or nine blind pictures and hope that five work. If a buyer had the ability to buy 10 movies last year, and this year he's only got four, we'll have spent time with him a couple months ago saying "This is the product we've got coming up." Rather than just coming into the marketplace with a script for a film like "Shanghai" that's still editing, we made sure that we rushed to build eight to 10 minutes of footage.
THR: What role will Harvey and Bob have this year?
Glasser: My buyers love to hear from them, especially from the marketing or rollout standpoint on the picture show. I plan to have them involved in specific meetings and deals with certain buyers about what the plans are for a picture, or how Harvey or Bob sees casting it.
THR: What have you been hearing from buyers and colleagues this year?
Glasser: The biggest thing I'm hearing is that buyers have tighter budgets, so they've really got to focus on the product, and they need to stretch their dollar. From colleagues I've been talking to, they're not just compiling these astronomically large slates, throwing them up against the wall and seeing what sticks. They're really focusing on what they're bringing to the marketplace.