After years apart marked by late-night reminiscing and long, hungry gazes at each other (and whatever candy happened to be scattered on the floor), the Weinsteins and Miramax are reunited, ending nearly a decade of divorce. And just like Jerry Bruckheimer getting back together with Paramount, this second honeymoon phase will be filled with giddy attempts at reliving the past: As first reported in 2010, Miramax’s new caretakers had hoped to return it to its ’90s glory days by literally returning it to its ’90s glory days, mining the vast Miramax library for sequels, TV adaptations, and whatever else it might be able to spin out of the production company that once embodied the risk-taking, art-house antithesis to bloodless franchising. Now Bob and Harvey Weinstein have a new 20-year deal to oversee that franchising themselves, returning to the company they founded to help determine what more can be squeezed from their successes, now that everyone is older and just looking for safety and stability.
First up, those long-rumored sequels to Shakespeare In Love and Rounders, with Harvey Weinstein confidently describing development on the latter as “instantaneous.” In fact, he says there’s already a story in mind that would “start the card game in Paris, that’s all I want to say,” before immediately continuing, “There might be a certain beautiful Parisian actress involved in it, and then we’re off to the racetrack and Vegas with Matty [Damon] and Edward Norton, and a new supervillain to replace John Malkovich.” For that, Weinstein is reportedly courting Robert De Niro, whom he probably called “Bobby.”
As for Shakespeare In Love….Again!, Weinstein declared, “I personally have never made a sequel, but I will make Shakespeare In Love as one. I’ve always wanted to do that and now we have the impetus to.” That impetus, as Weinstein says, is that we live in “an age where, for however long it lasts, content is king”—in between the previous age, when original ideas were king, and the future age, when the giant space squid Drexlor is king, and humanity will be too busy in the salt-water mines to make sequels to things. (HAIL TO YOU, DREXLOR.)
Also being considered: television versions of Flirting With Disaster, Good Will Hunting, and Swingers, despite each having relatively self-contained narratives and/or very narrowly defined milieus that were very much of their era. (Weinstein tells the New York Times a Swingers TV show “might look something like Entourage,” possibly in that the very idea of turning Swingers into a TV show in 2013 is also a Hollywood self-parody.) As for Flirting and Good Will, it’s likely Weinstein sees the potential to mine those characters into weekly family drama not unlike his recently proposed TV version of Silver Linings Playbook.
All of these join all the sequels above, those other proposed TV versions of The Mist and Sin City, the upcoming Scream and From Dusk Till Dawn shows, sequels to Bad Santa and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and possibly all of the other, further brand extensions Miramax has eyed for The Amityville Horror, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Clerks, Shall We Dance, and Cop Land —all part of Miramax’s plans for a future largely defined by its past. And with the Weinsteins back on board, expect those rehashes to be forced through far more expediently.
As the company’s chief financier Tom Barrack Jr. says, while explaining the reasoning behind this deal to Deadline, the Weinstein-less Miramax had the library but “we didn’t have the art form. If I called Quentin Tarantino and said, I have a great idea how to do a Pulp Fiction TV series, chances are it would be a very short conversation.” But with the Weinsteins doing the talking, that conversation now seems likely to drag on until they get what they want—and it just got way, way louder. That’s their “art form” now.