Weinstein Co. Signs Major Deal With Worldview Entertainment (Exclusive)

Weinstein Worldview Story - H 2014

Weinstein Worldview Story - H 2014

The new partners already have four projects lined up, including Ryan Reynolds-Helen Mirren period drama "Woman in Gold."

A version of this story first appeared in the May 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Worldview Entertainment, a prolific financing and production outfit that has become a major player on the indie scene, just scored a massive boost. A new five-year partnership with The Weinstein Co. gives it access to more product (and Harvey Weinstein's knack for turning out Oscar contenders), plus 20 U.S. distribution slots for its own films with a marketing spend from TWC. In addition to handling domestic distribution for four Worldview titles annually, TWC will act as a foreign sales agent on select Worldview projects.

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Insiders say the new partners, which to date only have collaborated on James Gray's The Immigrant (set for release May 16), already have a handful of co-financing projects lined up including 17th century romance Tulip Fever, with Dane DeHaan and Alicia Vikander, and the Ryan Reynolds-Helen Mirren period drama The Woman in Gold. Worldview is also looking to co-finance The Current War, which Ben Stiller is circling to direct, and Alan Ball's I Am Chippendales, starring Stiller. Worldview isn't saying how much it is investing in TWC films, but sources say the budgets will range between $10 million and $65 million.TWC and Worldview also have established a sizable film development fund.

“We love working with Worldview, they are savvy about movies and the business of movies. We greatly look forward to strategically joining forces with them and look forward to a long and prosperous business relationship," said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein and COO David Glasser.

"Over the past several years we have developed a very strong, collaborative working relationship with Harvey and David," said Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow. "Their guidance will help expand our business tremendously. We intend to join in co-productions, distribution and sales for multiple projects.”

"But I think we are most excited about having the domestic distribution slots with P&A commitments, which is a game-changer for Worldview," Woodrow told THR. "We don't have to be at the mercy of the acquisitions market."

The pact is nonexclusive, meaning Worldview can continue to work with the likes of New Regency or Lionsgate, with whom Worldview is co-financing the Soviet-era thriller Child 44.

The New York-based company has big backing, having raised about $125 million to date. In 2011, Sarah Johnson Redlich (daughter of Franklin Templeton mogul and San Francisco Giants owner Charles B. Johnson) became an equity partner in Worldview, which also relies on a credit facility and silent investors.

Repped by CAA, Worldview will have eight films in theaters this year, including Eli Roth's The Green Inferno, which Open Road Films debuts Sept. 6. Worldview hasn't yet launched a commercial hit but has built credibility by backing this year's Oscar-nominated documentary The Square and the gritty Nicolas Cage drama Joe.

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Insiders say three Worldview titles that could go through TWC per the new deal include David Gordon Green's Manglehorn, starring Al Pacino; the Anne Hathaway starrer Song One, which hasn't found a U.S. home after debuting at Sundance in January; and Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman. Worldview won't comment on those discussions.

The company, run by Woodrow and COO Molly Conners, has financed 25 movies in four years, including New Regency's upcoming Birdman, from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Worldview also is financing Inarritu's New Regency project The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio), and Michel Hazanavicius' Chechnya war drama The Search, which plays at Cannes. Having distributed Hazanavicius' The Artist, TWC would be a natural fit for The Search, but it's not clear whether that is in the offing.