Weinstein Co. makes deal with striking writers

Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:53pm EST
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By Steve Gorman and Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Weinstein Co., the film and TV company run by sibling media moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein, has reached a deal to allow striking Hollywood writers to return to work for the studio, a company spokesman said on Thursday.

A formal agreement with the Writers Guild of America, similar to one reached on Monday by Tom Cruise's production label, United Artists, was expected to be signed and announced by day's end, spokesman Matthew Frankel told Reuters.

Both Weinstein and United Artists, controlled by Metro Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, are especially vulnerable to strike-related disruptions as they struggle at the box office.

Launched in 2005 by the founders of Miramax Films with nearly $1 billion in funding, Weinstein has suffered a bumpy year with flops like the war-themed drama "Grace is Gone," Scarlett Johansson comedy "The Nanny Diaries" and the double-horror feature "Grindhouse."

UA's first film under new management, the antiwar drama "Lions for Lambs," co-starring Cruise and director Robert Redford, also drew lackluster ticket sales.

While news of a second high-profile film company defecting from the major studios marked a symbolic victory for the WGA, it was unlikely to change the larger dynamic of Hollywood's 10-week-old labor clash.

Still, it came on the same day a leading media executive in the dispute suggested a deadlock in contract talks with striking writers might soon be broken.

"We sincerely hope talks begin shortly and that there is a resolution," CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves told investors at a Citigroup conference in New York City.   Continued...

<p>Bob Weinstein (L) and his brother Harvey Weinstein, the founders of The Weinstein Co., an independent motion picture studio, pose in Los Angeles, California June 12, 2007. The Weinstein Co. has reached an agreement that would allow striking Hollywood writers to return to work for the company, a company spokesman said on Thursday. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>