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Weinstein movie library gets new home under former MGM chief Barber

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FILMS backed by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, from The King’s Speech to Inglourious Basterds, have found a new home.

Gary Barber, who led a turnaround of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), is creating a new venture with Lantern Entertainment, which bought Weinstein Co. assets out of bankruptcy last year. The new company will be called Spyglass Media Group, taking the name of the studio Barber co-founded in 1998.

Italian independent distributor Eagle Pictures and Cineworld Group Plc, the second-largest theater chain in the world, are backing the company as strategic investors.

The new studio will make new films and TV shows, some of which were put on hold because of the Weinstein bankruptcy — a move brought on by sexual-harassment claims against the eponymous producer. The company also will distribute a 250-title library that includes Oscar winners such as The Artist and television shows like Project Runway, which returned for its 17th season on Thursday. The group plans to sell its content to streaming outlets, which continue to multiply.




WELL TIMED?
“There could not be a better time to produce compelling and crowd-pleasing content for worldwide distribution across multiple platforms,” Barber said in a statement Wednesday. In an interview, he added that the company will be hiring a management team and producing its own content, some of which will be released theatrically.

Barber has contributed some of his own funds to the business, alongside the other investors. He co-founded his predecessor company, Spyglass Entertainment, which backed movies like The Sixth Sense and the 2009 Star Trek.

Weinstein Co. was sold to Lantern last year in a bankruptcy sale worth about $437 million, including debt. The arrangement means Harvey Weinstein himself won’t profit from the new venture. — Bloomberg