ViacomCBS to Purchase Stake in Miramax
ViacomCBS is close to a deal that would make them minority stakeholders in the Miramax film library -- over 700 titles ranging from The English Patient and Good Will Hunting to Scream and The Crying Game. Viacom has been working to acquire Miramax for months, with an eye toward working with the company to develop new projects as well as reboots of existing intellectual property (the rumored Scream reboot comes to mind). The deal was reportedly close to being done back in September, but fell through in November. Shortly after the ViacomCBS merger became official earlier this month, rumors emerged that talks were back on.
Besides making use of Viacom's significant theatrical presence through Paramount Pictures, the Miramax deal would give home entertainment and digital rights to big chunks of the Miramax library, which ViacomCBS could leverage through PlutoTV and CBS All Access, the company's streaming platforms, Variety reports. The deal is reportedly worth around $100 million.
Miramax was founded in 1979 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who sold the assets to Disney in 1993. The pair eventually left Disney to start The Weinstein Company in 2005, where they remained until 2018 when the company essentially collapsed and was liquidated amid dozens of sexual assault allegations against the Weinsteins. Actresses, models, and Miramax employees have come forward to claim that the pair used their positions at the company to coerce sexual favors for years.
Miramax, meanwhile, has changed hands a couple more times since the Weinsteins left. Disney sold off the company (which does a lot of R-rated, indie fare -- not exactly Disney's current brand) to an investment firm called Filmyard Holdings in 2010. In 2016, Filmyard sold it to beIN Media Group, a Qatar-based media company.
The rumor was that the Viacom/Miramax deal was never really off, but that it had to be put on hold during the CBS merger.
ViacomCBS is looking to position itself as a leader in intellectual property amid a crowded marketplace of streaming services. The company has recently added Nickelodeon series to the CBS All Access app, and unified the Star Trek brand between Paramount Pictures and CBS Television.
Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures and the former parent company of CBS. Viacom spun CBS off as an independent entity in 2005. The split had major effects on the Star Trek franchise. Paramount Pictures maintained the franchise film rights, including the rights to make more Star Trek movies. CBS maintained the television rights, future television rights, and licensing rights to the Star Trek franchise. As fans saw it, this split came around the same time that Star Trek: Enterprise concluded, bringing Star Trek’s 18-year continuous run on television to a close. It was the punctuation mark on the end of what is considered by some to be the franchise's golden age, which began with Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987.
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