trackingboard DELUXE

more layoffs at Weinstein?

Posted in news by westsideninja on September 23, 2009

yikes. wonder which development execs will get canned?

Weinsteins’ splice

By PETER LAURIA 

Last updated: 1:35 AM September 24, 2009 

Brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein are planning to lay off roughly three dozen staffers in an effort to bring the number of employees at their financially troubled studio down to around 90, The Post has learned.

News of the layoffs follows last week’s unwinding of The Weinstein Co.’s stake in distribution company Genius Products, an investment Harvey publicly valued at more than $400 million but in the end turned out to return only a pittance.

Restructuring firm Miller Buckfire recommended the headcount cut in order to bring The Weinstein Co.’s payroll “down to a size that is smart for the amount of releases per year” planned by the studio, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the restructuring firm’s report.

According to a source, The Weinstein Co. plans to release about 10 movies a year beginning in 2010: four films each for Harvey and Bob and two marketplace pickups.

The latest round of cuts comes after the studio quietly canned about 35 employees in marketing, distribution and publicity over the past few weeks, bringing its current headcount down to 125 from 160. Reducing staff to 90 would bring The Weinstein Co.’s headcount in line with other studios that have similar release schedules, like Miramax, Overture Films and Summit Entertainment.

“They are all operating at a size that The Weinstein Co. needs to get down to,” said a second source close to the situation.

People familiar with the matter said The Weinstein Co. likes to tie layoffs to the expiration of contracts, so the timing for the latest round of departures is unclear.

Many of the pink-slips could go out next Wednesday or in early October since that’s when a lot of employees’ contracts expire. The studio was officially formed on Oct. 1, 2005, so many contracts expire around the end of September or early October.

Sources said the Weinsteins are planning cuts across their entire operation, and though no firm decisions have been made yet, it’s possible entire units get shut down, such as Rob Weisbach’s long-suffering books division.

“It’s complete hubris for them to even have that division,” said a third source close to the company. “[The books unit] should have died years ago.”

To be sure, The Weinstein Co. has been able to regain some financial footing thanks to the success of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which is closing in on $230 million in worldwide box office receipts.

And though it didn’t perform as well as its predecessor, “Halloween II” has grossed $32 million domestically against a $15 million budget and will make money for the studio.

Meanwhile, on the television side, “Project Runway” is drawing the largest audiences in the series’ history.

Those minor victories, combined with the layoffs and other expense reduction measures recommended by Miller Buckfire, should at least allow The Weinstein Co. to continue making movies.

Indeed, the studio recently acquired the rights to three films: “A Single Man,” “Nowhere Boy,” and “The King’s Speech.”

peter.lauria@nypost.com

via NY Post

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