Finally, America will get what it's always wanted: Paul Rudd sporting a huge fucking beard.
At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, The Weinstein Company just closed a deal to distribute My Idiot Brother, the new comedy starring Rudd as a paroled pot dealer. It guarantees a minimum of $6 million and has a $15 million P&A commitment for a wide theatrical release.
The film follows Rudd as a paroled pot dealer who moves in with his sisters as he tries to get his life together. And, it carries one helluva cast. On top of Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dancy, Kathryn Hahn, Shirley Knight and Janet Montgomery all are starring. Yeah, we know, right?
Anyway, in other Sundance news, The Big Bang was just purchased by Anchor Bay. Starring Antonio Banderas, he plays a detective investigating the murder of an unknown stripper. Throughout the case, unfortunately, more deaths occur. The noir-thriller also stars William Fichtner, Sienna Guillory, Bill Duke, James Van Der Beek, Sam Elliott, Delroy Lindo and -- yeah that's right -- Snoop Dogg. To make matters ever more awesome? Johnny Marr scored the film. So, yeah. Once again, we know, right?
For complete Sundance 2011 coverage, click here.
Disney Agrees to Sell Miramax to Tutor, Colony & Co. for $660M
After a six-month bidding process, Disney has agreed to sell Miramax to a group that includes Ronald Tutor and Colony Capital for $660 million.
The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and is expected to close sometime before the end of the year. In a statement, Disney chief Robert Iger said, “Although we are very proud of Miramax’s many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands.”
Tutor, the chief executive of the Tutor Perini Corporation, and Tom Barrack, the chief executive of Colony Capital, and other individuals bought Miramax through Filmyard Holdings. The press release did not mention any other minority investors, such as James Robinson of Morgan Creek, Gulf Capital of Dubai and actor Rob Lowe, who said last week that he was part of the group, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Nor was there any mention of Pangea Media Group CEO David Bergstein, who first brought the deal to Tutor and has been acting as a consultant on the sale.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Jerome Swartz, who co-founded mobile technology company Symbol Technologies, was expected to invest between $25 million and $50 million in the new venture.
The purchase includes the rights to 700 library titles, plus the Miramax name, books, development projects and other assets.
Disney will handle distribution of a handful of completed Miramax films that have yet to be released, an arrangement that may be in place for up to a year after the transaction is completed, Variety notes.
The ultimate price for the indie label was higher than what others, including Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein backed by Ron Burkle, were prepared to offer.
As much as $150 million of the Miramax unit’s value remains tied to film franchises like the Spy Kids and Scary Movie series in which the Weinsteins have rights, a source told The New York Times.
Unclear is how Tutor’s group will deal with the Weinstein presence, given the brothers’ chagrin in recent weeks at not having prevailed in the bidding, says the NYT.
Deadline notes that Colony Capital's Richard Nanula will be the key person picking a CEO and CFO from the usual roster of experienced movie executives. An insider told Deadline, "He'll make sure Miramax doesn't end up hiring someone who'll use distribution as an excuse to go into production. Because that would be disastrous."
The Wrap reported yesterday afternoon that an agreement has been reached for Disney to sell Miramax to LA billionaire Ronald Tutor and his partners Morgan Creek, Colony Capital and David Bergstein. The sale price was said to be $675 million.
"The deal is not done, but it's going to get done," a person with knowledge of the deal told The Wrap. "We've agreed in principle." Following is a round-up of what folks are saying a deal would look like and what obstacles remain.
Speaking to Deadline, an insider said it's "95% just about done. A couple of deal terms and timing issues remain. Like when does the deal actually close? When do all of the contingencies Disney needs to deliver get cleared? Right now there's not really a Miramax because it's been comingled with other Disney assets. So what has to happen is those assets have to go in and out so that the partnership can end up buying Miramax with clean assets and no liabilities. By tomorrow we could have a deal in principle. But it'll be up to Disney to decide when to sign it and announce it."
As to the price being paid, a source told Deadline: "The headline will be $675 million but it's really north of $675 million."
Tutor, according to TW, will take the lead management position while the embattled Bergstein is expected to take a prominent advisory role. A Deadline source, however, said of Bergstein: "He gets paid for packaging the deal and consulting on the transaction. Then that's it." The Los Angeles Times seconds that, saying Bergstein will not work for the new Miramax.
Morgan Creek would be a distribution partner for the new Miramax, but is also putting capital into the deal, says TW. (Deadline says Morgan is contributing equity of $50 million with James Robinson looking for a seat on the board, although "there have not been any discussions" about linking Morgan Creek's product or employees to Miramax.)
Colony Capital’s Richard Nanula, who heads the fund's entertainment division, is a former CFO of Disney. The private equity firm is run by founder and CEO Thomas Barrack Jr. Two other equity partners are involved in the purchase, but have chosen to remain anonymous, says TW. The Hollywood Reporter includes Gulf Capital, an investment firm based in Abu Dhabi, as one of the investors.
In addition to distributing the library, the new Miramax is expected to produce several new movies annually. For the first year, Walt Disney Studios will distribute its movies until a new distribution operation has been formed, reports the LAT.
The deal is expected to officially close by the end of July.
News of the agreement brought out some skeptics: A rival bidder told TW that Tutor would have two weeks to find banks to provide about $200 million in debt financing and get the deal closed, but that this would not happen at $675 million. "They can't close this deal at $675 million," said the skeptic.
Indeed, notes Variety, there have been many times over the past few months that Disney was about to sign a deal to hand the keys back to Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Sources this week signaled to the trade that the Weinsteins remain contenders for the company with an offer backed by billionaire Ron Burkle.
"A sharp drop in the number of active lenders, the current conservative environment and a significant drop in library values generally could combine to make closing a deal of any significant size challenging," Clark Hallren, managing partner of Clear Scope Partners, an entertainment advisory that also raises senior debt capital told THR.
But David Davis, managing partner of entertainment advisory Arpeggio Partners, said raising bank debt of the level sought appears feasible. "Colony has strong backing behind it and having the former Disney executive is a plus," Davis told THR. "There are a lot of people involved who can raise $300 million-plus."
Meanwhile, THR adds that despite reports Rob Lowe is not involved in the Tutor consortium, though his name was recently linked to Colony.
The Hollywood Reporter said Thursday that the Weinstein brothers had "managed to fashion a winning bid" for Miramax, but Deadline.com later reported that Disney had responded to the report saying, "No (Miramax) deal done and reports to the contrary are false."
Later on, Deadline said it had heard that the Weinsteins were still bidding and planned sometime Thursday night to submit a new and higher quote in the $615 million range.
That number still has to beat the Gores brothers and the Pangea Media group. But, if it's acceptable, the Weinstein backers will ask Disney for an exclusive negotiating window, said Deadline.
The Wrap had previously reported that the Weinsteins had already negotiated a window of exclusivity with Disney.
The window, as described by The Wrap, would be non-binding, but would give the Miramax founders an opportunity to come to terms with Disney, and win back the studio.
Harvey and Bob Weinstein are backed by billionaire financier Ron Burkle and hedge funds Fortress and Colbeck Capital.
No deal for the sale is expected this week, however.
Anne Hathaway's boyfriend Raffaelo Follieri has been arrested and charged with trying to pass a bad check, reportedly for around $250,000.
New York police spokesman Detective Martin Speechley confirms officers picked up and charged Follieri on Thursday, while TMZ.com reports the Italian property developer bounced a check worth $250,000.
The Web site claims Follieri has since been released from custody and is working with police to sort out what he claims is a misunderstanding.
Last year, U.S. supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle sued Follieri for allegedly squandering $1.3 million of his business money to support his lavish lifestyle. Follieri denied the accusation.
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