The Weinstein brothers are potentially reuniting with with the film studio that made them millions and solidified their names as major players after an ugly eight year separation. The hype began in movie industry circles late Friday when Variety reported Harvey Weinstein and Miramax chairman Tom Barrack had lunch in Saint-Tropez two weeks ago to discuss a possible merger of Miramax and The Weinstein Company. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday morning that discussions are "still at an early stage," but "issues remain to be resolved before a deal could be concluded," their source cautioned.
But Deadline's Nikki Finke threw some cold water on the merger speculation. "Even while on vacation I can tell you definitively [reports of a merger are] overblown," Finke wrote late Saturday. "I’ve learned a merger is impossible because of The Weinstein Co’s structure," she added. (Her "exclusive" report Friday afternoon about the lunch between Weinstein and Barrack didn't include anything about a merger detail, only that the two sides were looking to work together in the future.)
Barrack said "there could be many things for us to do together in the future," in an email to the Journal.
So who knows what information is accurate, but one thing is certain: this would be a huge shake-up within the film industry, one that would finally bring the two brothers and the production house they built into an Oscar-machine back together. Harvey and Bob Weinstein rose to prominence producing indie flicks for Miramax, which they named after their parents, in the 80s and 90s. They cashed in and sold the production house to Disney in 1993, and continued to work with the House of Mouse for another 12 years before an ugly 2005 split. But fences are being mended all over Hollywood, apparently, with Weinstein making nice with Disney to make Artemis Fowl movie.
Before this, you would be hard press to find someone who would describe the relationship between Barrack and the Weinsteins as anything but "chilly." When Disney was selling Miramax in 2010, Barrack's group of investors outbid the Weinsteins for their old baby.
But the potential deal would give the Weinstein brothers access to the extensive archive of classic films from which they made their name, and put Miramax abruptly back into the producing game after spending the last few years promising and never delivering a return to original content. The company has survived on lucrative licensing deals.