The Weinstein Company and Blockbuster have merged. Sort of.

The Weinstein Company, the multi-media enterprise launched by movie industry icons Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and Blockbuster Inc. 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.

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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; Grind House, the thrilling double feature from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that will recall both filmmakers' favorite exploitation films and Shut Up and Sing, the documentary following the Dixie Chicks recording their first album after making political statements prior to the Iraq War, among others.

"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(TM), 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."

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."

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs