Harvey Weinstein Grilled: ‘I’m Loving Playing Inside the Box’

“I’m interested in making the best possible movies we can. And I’m having a helluva good time doing it”

Last Updated: January 5, 2011 @ 12:00 PM

The Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein agreed to be grilled by Wrap editor Sharon Waxman on the new turn his company has taken in the wake of a financial restructuring in the middle of 2010.

What is your take on where TWC is right now?
You can’t re-create it, but it’s as close to Miramax as it’s ever been.

You’ve decided to focus on what you’re good at?
When I look at the deal I did for my shareholders — and God bless MGM — we did such a better job for our shareholders. I look at this restructuring — we get the library back, the company’s in good financial consideration and everyone gets whole pretty quickly.

You raised $1.2 billion. How does that get whole quickly?
Half of that was loan, half was equity. The equity stays in place.  The loan gets paid off after $80 millon. Nobody’s writing off s—. The incredible amounts of money and fees which was over $150 mill in fees got lifted, we don’t pay that. Now the money goes to pay back everybody.

What is different about this as a comeback story?
We’re concentrating on the things we are good at. The minute we started doing just that, the company has come alive.

I’m enjoying it. It’s not about Disney or Miramax or all that. It’s about this time, this company, going straight ahead. And feeling this is a good time to succeed, to rebuild the independent film sector that has collapsed.

I’m 100 percent focused on movies. I don’t think outside the box. I’m loving playing in the box.

Were you disappointed about not getting Miramax?
Having watched my company get sold for $663 million and Disney keeping significant assets — even Michael Eisner said, "Holy s—, that was profitable." Disney paid $80 million for us. I’d love those returns.

I made plenty of mistakes at the Weinstein Company.  After that sale I can honestly say I did nothing wrong at Miramax. I batted 1,000, and Bob batted 1,000, too. What the f— did we do wrong?

Disney offered Bob and I $9 million each to stay in 2005, and we said no. We were never let go. In 2005. We said no because we had $150 million in cash.

Did Ron Tutor overpay?
I don’t think he did. He has an incredible library. They’ll have the last laugh.

You’ve said publicly that were not a good CEO.
I was terrible at being a CEO at all those other companies. You could have gone to central casting and not picked a worse person. I’m not good at it. I’m not one of these guys who went to Harvard Business School and knows how to do spread sheets and motivate employees in different areas. To go from Nabisco to Hertz Rent-a-Car. I know how to make movies.

What are your amibitions now?
I’m interested in making the best possible movies we can. And I’m having a helluva good time doing it.