TNT buys rights to ‘Inglourious Basterds’; Weinstein Co. still struggling


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Some good news for the beleaguered Weinstein Co. as it has sold the rights to ‘Inglourious Basterds’ to Time Warner’s basic cable network TNT.

Though terms were not disclosed, typically these deals are based on a percentage of the box office with a cap, which means that a movie that makes $250 million at the box office could go for the same that a movie that pulls in $150 million does. The most TNT is likely to have paid for ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is around $15 million. So far, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ has taken in more than $110 million in U.S. box office, making it director Quentin Tarantino’s biggest hit.Showtime already has the pay TV rights to ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and future Weinstein Co. releases. However, that deal was unique in that Weinstein Co. paid Showtime an advance of $35 million as part of the deal. For more on that arrangement and how it came to pass, see our story.


Though the TNT money will come in handy, it is not nearly enough to dig the Weinstein Co. out of the hole it is in. Earlier this year, it hired financial firm Miller Buckfire to figure out how the company could restructure its heavy debt load of more than $500 million. Since then, the company has been laying off staffers, has said it will cutback dramatically on the number of movies it makes and acquires and has started getting out of its nonmovie businesses.

Today’s Wall Street Journal was the latest to chronicle the challenges facing Bob and Harvey Weinstein after stories in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. WSJ dug up a nice little gem that the Weinsteins did not pay back a $75-million bridge loan from Ziff Brothers Investments and that Dirk Ziff, resigned from the Weinstein board earlier this year.

The company has two big movies coming out later this year, the musical ‘Nine’ and ‘The Road,’ the latter of which had been billed as its best shot at Oscar gold.

-- Joe Flint