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Blockbuster Gets Exclusive Rental Distribution for Weinstein Company Titles

Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2006 2:11 PM and updated on Thursday, November 16th, 2006 3:41 PM

Video rental service Blockbuster has signed an exclusive deal with the Weinstein Company to provide their movies for rental. Under the terms of this deal, titles published on video by the Weinstein Company after January 1, 2007 will only be available for rent from Blockbuster stores and their online rental operation. This excludes Netflix and other retail rental operations from providing those titles for rent.

Some of the first titles that will be available under this new agreement will be:

  • Bobby
  • School for Scoundrels
  • The Protector
  • The Nanny Diaries
  • Arthur and the Invisibles

This agreement does not affect any movies produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein while they were at Miramax, as Disney still controls the rights to those movies, including Chicago, Cold Mountain, and Kill Bill.

In general, I dislike exclusive agreements, and this one is no different. How does this agreement benefit the ultimate customer of these movies? All it does is limit their choice by punishing them for not preferring to obtain their movies from a service other than the one that just got the new agreement.

At last count, Netflix has around 65,000 titles from which to choose. I don't think I'll miss not being able to rent the few movies released under this new agreement. What concerns me is that this kind of deal could become commonplace, where consumers have to think about where they are going to be able to obtain a movie they wish to see. This agreement probably looked good on a spreadsheet somewhere, but it's not in the best interest of movie fans.

For what it's worth, here's the press release:

Press Release

Full Slate of the Weinstein Company's Theatrical and Direct-to-Video Titles To Be Offered For Rent at Blockbuster Stores and Online Rental Service

Genius Products, LLC to service exclusive alliance between TWC and Blockbuster

(NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2006) - THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY (TWC), the multi-media enterprise launched by movie industry icons Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE: BBI, BBI.B) today announced a groundbreaking four-year exclusive alliance, which provides Blockbuster with exclusive US rental rights to TWC's theatrical and direct-to-video movies, beginning on Jan. 1, 2007. Under the terms of the agreement, TWC and Blockbuster will share rental revenues from TWC's theatrical and direct-to-video titles. Genius Products, LLC, TWC's exclusive home entertainment distributor, will provide distribution services to TWC in connection with the deal. This deal however, does not include the exclusive rights in connection with retail sell-thru sales of TWC's home entertainment product.

"We are very excited about our alliance with Blockbuster, as we believe it will bring our company increased access to millions of consumers. Blockbuster is an industry leader of in-home entertainment and is highly committed to their customers' experience," said Bob and Harvey Weinstein, co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company. "As movie lovers, we have always aimed to produce and acquire films that people will enjoy, so we feel that this agreement is a win-win for TWC, Blockbuster and for consumers. The unique combination of Blockbuster's established in-store retail experience with the power of their online subscription service was one of the biggest factors that attracted us to this alliance.

Through the agreement, Blockbuster will carry future theatrical and direct-to-video titles released by TWC and will have a three-year rental exclusivity for each title released. In exchange for exclusivity, Blockbuster will pay TWC a minimum guarantee, determined by box office performance, for each theatrical picture, and based on the acquisition or production costs for each DTV title.

Some of the first films available for rent exclusively at Blockbuster will include: "Bobby," starring Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Store, Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan; "School for Scoundrels," starring Billy Bob Thornton; "The Protector," the full-bodied martial arts action film starring Thai sensation Tony Jaa; "Shut Up & Sing," a documentary following the Dixie Chicks recording their first album after making political statements prior to the Iraq War; "Miss Potter," the Beatrix Potter biopic starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor; "Grindhouse," the thrilling double feature from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that will recall both filmmakers' favorite exploitation films; "The Nanny Diaries," based on the New York Times No. 1 best-selling book of the same name, starring Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti; and "Arthur and The Invisibles," the larger-than-life CGI animated family adventure.

"Bob and Harvey Weinstein are legendary producers whose movies have long been customer favorites at Blockbuster," said Blockbuster Chairman and CEO John Antioco. "As evidenced by our recent introduction of Blockbuster Total Access™, Blockbuster is always looking for ways to give our customers the products and services they want - and can't find any place else - and this agreement will enable us to do just that. Now, as the exclusive rental provider, we'll be the only place, in-store and online, that can guarantee customers a wide selection of The Weinstein Company films available for rent."

The Weinsteins have produced some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies over the past two decades, including "Chicago," "Cold Mountain," "Gangs of New York," and "Kill Bill Volume 1." In addition to their box office success, these titles also rank among the top-performing rental titles at Blockbuster. Recently, TWC's "Derailed" was the No. 1 home video rental title for the entire rental industry in its debut week and is one of the top rental titles year-to-date, and "Lucky Number Slevin" was the No.1 home video rental title for the entire rental industry in its first two weeks of release.

Blockbuster plans to showcase the TWC movies in special sections in its stores and online. It will also offer customers the TWC movies under its in-store guaranteed availability program, which guarantees customers that select movies will be in-stock or they get a "rain-check" free rental coupon for that movie. Blockbuster also plans to share general trending information with TWC, such as the types of movies and actors the Blockbuster consumer would like to see more of, which could provide valuable insights for future film projects.

"The Weinsteins are known for their innovation and marketing expertise," Antioco said. "We look forward to leveraging the combined power of our two brands to deliver more entertainment value to our customers."

Trevor Drinkwater, President and Chief Executive Officer for Genius Products commented, "This strategic alliance exemplifies what we believe to be one of our major competitive advantages. We believe that we offer a unique ability for our content partners to explore groundbreaking agreements with our retail partners."

About Blockbuster

Blockbuster Inc. is a leading global provider of in-home movie and game entertainment, with approximately 8,500 stores throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. The Company may be accessed worldwide at blockbuster.com.

About The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films

The Weinstein Company (TWC) was created by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films Corporation in 1979. TWC is a multi-media company that officially launched on October 1, 2005. Dimension Films, the genre label that was founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, is also included under the TWC banner.

Since launching on October 1, 2005, The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films have released "Derailed," "Wolf Creek," "Transamerica," "The Matador," "Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Hoodwinked," "Scary Movie 4," and "Shut Up & Sing," among others.

"Lucky Number Slevin" "Clerks II," and "School for Scoundrels" all Weinstein Company presentations, have been released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM).

Upcoming Weinstein Company films to be domestically distributed in theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) are; "Bobby," the political-culture drama with an all star ensemble cast; "Breaking and Entering," by Academy Award winning director Anthony Minghella, starring Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn and Vera Farmiga; "Factory Girl," the Edie Sedgwick biopic starring Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce; and "Miss Potter," the Beatrix Potter biopic starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.

Other upcoming films to be released by The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films include: "The Nanny Diaries," based on Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin's New York Times No. 1 best-selling satirical comedy of the same name, starring Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, and Chris Evans; "Grindhouse," a groundbreaking film that will unite two of the world's most legendary filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez and "Sin City 2," the second installment in the franchise based on the electrifying graphic novels from Frank Miller, which will be co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Miller.

During the Weinsteins' tenure at Miramax Films the company released some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful independent feature films, including fifteen Best Picture nominations and three Best Pictures of the Year for "The English Patient," Shakespeare In Love" and "Chicago." The films, which received 249 Academy Award® nominations and won 60 Oscars®, have generated billions of dollars in worldwide box office receipts and billions more in home video sales. In its history, Dimension Films has released some of the most successful franchises including "Scream," "Spy Kids" and "Scary Movie."

About Genius Products

Genius Products, Inc. (OTC BB:GNPI), along with The Weinstein Company, jointly own Genius Products, LLC, a leading independent home-entertainment distribution company that produces, licenses, and distributes a valuable library of motion pictures, television programming, family, lifestyle and trend entertainment on DVD and other emerging platforms through its expansive network of retailers throughout the U.S. Genius handles the distribution, marketing and sales for such brands as Asia Extreme(TM), Baby Genius®, Discovery Kids, Dragon Dynasty™, Dimension Films, ESPN®, IFC®, WWE, Wellspring™ and The Weinstein Company®.

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