Weinstein Co. denies Saperstein exit

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NEW YORK -- Dimension Films president of production Richard Saperstein is said to be leaving the company, according to various industry sources, with final terms of his exit currently being negotiated.

Meanwhile, at the Weinstein Co., the indie genre unit's parent company, Michael Schaefer, vp production, has exited following the expiration of his contract.

Saperstein reportedly told colleagues he had been let go, but when contacted Friday about the alleged firing, a Weinstein Co. spokeswoman said, "Richard Saperstein has not been fired. He remains an employee of the company."

The West Coast-based Saperstein was appointed to Dimension as executive vp, production four months before the Weinstein Co.'s October 2005 launch and was promoted to president of production in April 2006 with a three-year extention of his contract and option for an additional two years.

Saperstein sheperded "1408," which has turned into a boxoffice hit, and also oversaw the top company earner, the sequel "Scary Movie 4." He also worked on such misses as "Grindhouse," "Pulse" and "School For Soundrels."

Paying out the remainder of Saperstein's contract could prove costly for the Weinstein Co., which may be one reason why there appeared to be a difference of opinion Friday over the executive's status. Saperstein did not respond to an email and call by press time.

As for Schaefer, a company source said that he is joining another entertainment outfit, likely Summit Entertainment. (A Summit spokesman was not able to provide a comment by press time). A Weinstein Co. spokeswoman said the split was amicable and that Harvey Weinstein gave Schaefer co-executive producer credit on an upcoming feature as a going away present.
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