Monday, 10 May 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #505: 1 Story of Yes 1 Story of No

Welcome to the show folks...


Well, it looks like the Weinstein Bros. will be getting Miramax back, sort of.

You see, barring any major developments in the final negotiations billionaire Ron Burkle is actually going to own the company, the brothers are just going to get paid to manage the company and the company's film library. If all goes well in time for the Cannes Film Festival, they hope to make a big announcement there.

Which reminds me of a scene from the old Bugs
Bunny cartoon Mutiny On The Bunny. Bugs has been conned into working on Yosemite Sam's sailing ship by being told it will be a free luxury cruise. As the ship sets sail Bugs waves goodbye, but the only well wisher on the dock is a tiny Irish mouse calling out: "He is not long for this world."

I'm the tiny mouse, and you can pretty well guess who is playing the roles of Bugs and Yosemite Sam, and that this deal is probably going to act out a lot like the cartoon. There will be a lot yelling, threats, lawsuits, and a pretty good chance of slapstick comedy.

Burkle may be under the influence of Harvey's Hypno Coin at the moment, but that effect isn't as strong or as long lasting as it was back during the heyday of Miramax, thanks to the seemingly constant doldrums of TWC. The moment that wears off the Brothers Weinstein are going to find their hands full. Burkle has deeper pockets, deeper political connections, a bunch of hard-ass lawyers and he's not afraid to use them.

Which is why I'm having one of my patented psychic flashes, and the spirits of the future are telling me that all the drama and comedy coming from Miramax won't be playing in theaters, but in boardrooms and courtrooms.


Speaking of drama and comedy in boardrooms and courtrooms, the war over Lionsgate has shifted into a new gear. Billionaire takeover mogul Carl Icahn's offer to buy Lionsgate stock at $7 a share was extended due to the length of time needed to tender all the stock, however, the management of the mini-major are crying victory.

The management is also holding a special meeting of shareholders to hold a vote on the poison pill defense that was blackballed by the Canadian courts. Which means that the whole meeting, the "Shareholder Rights Package" and all associated with it is just a load of hooey. Of course all this could lead to a proxy fight, which is a costly nuclear option that could easily do more harm than good.

Damn it Lionsgate Management, you're not really sending out the right message here.

You're supposed to be saying to the world that you're only in it for making movies that make money for your shareholders. You're supposed to make sure that guys like Icahn can't make a rational argument for your removal, because all your shareholders are just too damn happy with you.

Instead you're playing all sorts of silly games that make you look like you're only interested in protecting your own positions and paychecks, and to hell with the rest of the company.

That's not a good image to project.

The more stunts like this you do, the more ammunition Icahn will have for his battle. All he needs is a few institutional shareholders and hedge funds to smell blood in the water and come in for the kill.

You know, at first I found the fighting amusing, but now it's becoming a combination of farce and tragedy that has the potential to damage the company, possibly irreparably.

I wish they had come to some accommodation that made everyone happy, but that's not in the cards. All I hope is that whatever the outcome, that the company itself will survive, because the movies can't afford to lose another company.

No comments:

Post a Comment