David Glasser, the former president and chief operating officer for The Weinstein Company, announced on Tuesday that he’s starting his own film production company 101 Studios with COO David Hutkin and the financial backing of investor Ron Burkle.
The company has lined up more than $300 million to acquire, develop and produce four to six films a year in the U.S., and will finance and produce six to eight new TV series it has in development. The company has already set up an international sales division.
101 Studios has already closed a $28.5 million television deal with Viacom for the first and second seasons of “Yellowstone,” the Kevin Costner-led western from Taylor Sheridan, which air on the Paramount Network. It is also said to be negotiating domestic rights for “The Current War,” a 2017 film starring Benedict Cumberbatch which had been tied up in The Weinstein Company bankruptcy proceedings.
The newly formed company is said to be heading to Sundance later this week with the intention to buy.
Financial backing for the new shingle comes from Ron Burkle, managing partner of The Yucaipa Companies; entrepreneur and producer Bob Yari; Marc Leder, co-CEO of Sun Capital Partners, Inc.; Marvin Peart of Marro Media Co.; and Dan Schryer, CEO of DCI Data Center Services. East West Bank has also provided substantial financing, including capital for the “Yellowstone” investment.
Burkle previously provided financing to Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media and invested in several Weinstein Co. films.
Hutkin had previously served as head of strategy, investments and banking since 2010 and ultimately in the role of CFO at TWC. During that time, he put together four facilities totaling $650 million in corporate revolvers under a syndicate of 16 banks with Union Bank, Bank of America, East West Bank, UBS, CIT and Comerica leading the way.
Hutkin also structured over 30 individual film and TV project deficit financings with banks, mezzanine partners and equity investors to develop and acquire content and strategic endeavors for another $500 million. In his prior banking career across three banks, Hutkin structured approximately 175 film and TV projects for independent producers and studios.
The launch of 101 Studios comes at time when Hollywood’s independent studios are in a bit of flux. Some have suffered layoffs and financial woes recently, and CBSFilm plans to fold within the year.
It’s not 100 percent clear specifically what kind of films 101 Studios will traffic, but during his time at TWC, Glasser production, marketing and distribution for worldwide films, garnering a total of 195 Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and 40 wins for titles including, including “Inglourious Basterds,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist,” “Django Unchained,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Butler” “and Lion.” And “The King’s Speech” (2011) and “The Artist” (2012) won best picture at the Oscars.
The Weinstein Company fired Glasser, who had been in line to succeed Harvey Weinstein as CEO, for what the company said was for “cause” in Feb. 2018 as the company was in the midst of unraveling following the revelation of years-worth of sexual harassment and assault accusations lodged against the company’s former boss.
The Weinstein Company ultimately filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sold to Lantern Capital for $298 million after a previous expected sale to a group of buyers, led by Burkle and Maria Contreras-Sweet, fell apart due to a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accusing the company of civil rights violations.