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Without Harvey Weinstein, His Company Faces Uncertain Future

The Weinstein Company’s board had a heated meeting on Thursday night. On Friday, three members of the board — Marc Lasry, Dirk Ziff and Tim Sarnoff — resigned, according to a board member and a company executive. In a statement, Bob Weinstein and three other Weinstein Company board members said that a group of lawyers from Debevoise & Plimpton, including one with experience prosecuting sex crimes, would lead an investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s behavior.

“As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged,” the statement said. “Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the board’s independent investigation and Harvey’s own personal decisions.”

The Weinstein brothers first came to prominence with Miramax in 1989, the year they helped usher in the indie-film boom with “Sex, Lies and Videotape.” They sold Miramax to Disney in 1993 and left in 2005 to form the Weinstein Company. They unsuccessfully dabbled in side businesses, including a fashion label, but eventually found their film footing with releases like “Inglourious Basterds.”


David Glasser, the president of the Weinstein Company, convened a staff meeting on Thursday night.

David Walter Banks for The New York Times

Lately, however, they have hit a dry spell. Although they have a fast-growing television division, the Weinsteins have not had a mainstream hit at the North American box office since 2013, when “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” took in $116.6 million.

So far this year, the Weinstein Company, a boutique studio that specializes in sophisticated, small-budget dramas like the 2011 Oscar winner “The King’s Speech,” has released six films, which have taken in a combined $123 million at the domestic box office. (The biggest is “Wind River,” a well-reviewed murder mystery that has collected about $33 million.) Last year, the Weinsteins had seven films, with combined ticket sales of just $65 million.

To compare, major studios like Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Company generally take in $1 billion to $2.5 billion annually at the domestic box office.

The Weinstein Company has also found itself sidelined at film festivals, where Mr. Weinstein has long shopped for movies to release, helping to discover auteurs like Quentin Tarantino and Stephen Soderbergh. For years at the Sundance Film Festival, for instance, his wallet was the only one that mattered to agents, who would track his team from hot tub to hot tub. Netflix and Amazon dominate now.


“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which was released in 2013, was the company’s last mainstream hit at the North American box office, taking in $116.6 million.

Anne Marie Fox/Weinstein Company

At the same time, a new cluster of independent movie companies — some better financed and with more contemporary sensibilities — arrived on the scene. They include A24, which released the reigning Oscar winner for best picture, “Moonlight,” and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, which has emerged as a favorite home for the kind of rebel filmmakers that Mr. Weinstein used to have to himself.

Ms. Ellison, whose films include “American Hustle” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” has been one of the few Hollywood executives willing to comment about the accusations against Mr. Weinstein. “Women face serious repercussions for sharing their experiences and deserve our full support,” she wrote on Twitter on Thursday, with a link to The Times report. “I admire the courage of these women.”

Mr. Weinstein acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that his behavior had “caused a lot of pain” and vowed to “do better.” On Friday, a lawyer advising him, Lisa Bloom, said in a television appearance that he had acted inappropriately and agreed with an interviewer who characterized Mr. Weinstein’s reported actions as illegal.

Mr. Weinstein’s power in Hollywood has always come his ability to capitalize on the Academy Awards. He was at his height in the late 1990s, when he drove films like “Shakespeare in Love” to best-picture wins and huge ticket sales. Even in his more recent diminished state, he remained a player, prodding a tiny, largely subtitled art film, “Lion,” to six nominations this year. (The last time a Weinstein film was a force at the Oscars was in 2012, when “The Artist” collected five awards, including best picture.)


Benedict Cumberbatch at a Toronto Film Festival showing of the Weinstein Company’s movie “The Current War,” which is scheduled for a late November release.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

In this year’s Oscars cycle, the company’s big hopes are “Wind River” and “The Current War,” a period drama about the rivalry between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse that is scheduled for a late November release. It received a tepid response at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, but Mr. Weinstein in recent weeks personally helped re-edit the movie.

Several agents and producers said that, without Mr. Weinstein’s all-or-nothing campaigning style, those films would probably be stranded on the awards trail.

As the movie business has become more difficult, the Weinsteins have found success in television, especially the reality genre, with Heidi Klum’s “Project Runway.” That series runs on Lifetime, a division of A&E Networks, and has spawned several spinoffs.

Series in development include a crime drama for Amazon starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore and created by the director of “Silver Linings Playbook,” David O. Russell. The Weinstein Company is also working with Oliver Stone on a series for Showtime called “Guantánamo.” It has three major projects with the Viacom-owned Paramount Network, including “Yellowstone,” a drama starring Kevin Costner and written by Taylor Sheridan, the writer-director behind “Wind River.”

Amazon, Showtime, A&E, Paramount all declined to comment about Mr. Weinstein on Friday or did not respond to queries. Ms. Klum, Mr. Sheridan and other people involved with Weinstein Company films and shows responded similarly.

One prominent agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to draw his company into the controversy, said that he would advise female clients against withdrawing from Weinstein projects. He quickly added, however, that he would also tell them to ask for a contract saying that they would have zero contact with Harvey Weinstein.

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