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Q&A: Why David Glasser is sticking with the Weinstein Co.

The Weinstein Co. gave Hollywood a surprise twist on the eve of the Toronto International Film Festival — by signing David Glasser to stay on as its chief operating officer and president.

Glasser, 44, appeared to be serious about moving on from the indie studio, having tendered his resignation in late July. His planned exit came amid other executive departures and resurfaced rumors about financial strains at the company. He had spoken with investors about joining new ventures and secured offers from multiple firms, reportedly including DreamWorks Animation, Netflix and other digital players entering the film and TV space.

But ultimately he turned those opportunities down to stay with Harvey and Bob Weinstein through 2018. The reversal comes at a key moment for TWC, which is preparing to release Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” It also wants to grow its TV business, which has titles like “Project Runway” and “Scream.”

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Glasser spoke to The Times about his reasons for staying put, the future of the Weinstein Co. and the possibility of making a play for Miramax, the studio the Weinstein brothers founded before their current company.

So why did you ultimately decide to stay at TWC?

First and foremost, I’ve always had a very amicable, incredible relationship with the brothers. We get along extremely well. And when I went out into the marketplace, I consistently kept hearing people ask, “How do you guys do it? What’s the secret sauce?” That made me realize what we had built.

In 2008, when I came in, it was a company that had unfortunately seen some tough times. And from 2008, we have rebuilt it, soup to nuts. To come back with the brothers was really the right thing.

You were negotiating through the long weekend. What was it that did it for you?

Bob reached out to me late Thursday when I was out on holiday. And what we really talked through was a vision of the future: building out the ancillary businesses; building the TV business; being very surgical and focusing on the type of movies we want to be doing. And there was this “ah-ha” moment when we realized we were all on the same page.

So why did you want to leave in the first place?

I felt at that time that I had done everything I could do at the company. And what transpired over the last five weeks was that these guys magnificently still have this fire in their bellies to grow and to build and be nimble and focus. And it really opened my eyes to what I can still do here.

Besides TV, what businesses do you want to build out?

Well, for instance, we have the TWC-Dimension brand, through which we had “Paddington” and we have the upcoming movie “Gold.” We have incredible IP sitting in our library, from “Knight Rider” to the “Mist” to “Spy Kids.” Bob is in the middle of finishing up the script on “Six Billion Dollar Man.” So that’s really interesting, to focus on the IP sitting in our library, whether for TV or film.

How is the company doing financially? Obviously there have been rumblings.

The reality is, I would not have re-signed for that number of years and walked away from the job offers that I had if there were issues inside the company. There have been rumblings for 20 years, and if there were any truth to it, I would not have re-signed.

Is the company positioning to make a play for Miramax? Harvey’s statement [Wednesday] seemed to make reference to that possibility.

We’re always looking at incredible opportunities in the marketplace, and obviously Miramax holds a very special place in Bob and Harvey’s hearts. As you’ll recall, one of the first things we did back in 2010 was go after Miramax. So who knows, we’ll see. It depends on what the opportunity is with it.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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