Harvey Weinstein may be considered a ruthless movie mogul prone to fits of anger, but in his 45 minute soft-spoken discussion with Charlie Rose this morning at the MIXX conference in New York City, Weinstein spun heart warming tales of growing up in Queens and being inspired by Francois Truffaut at the classic Mayfair movie theater where he spent afternoons of “great escapism” with his brother, Bob.
Rose chided Weinstein that it is Bob that is the “money maker” of the brotherly duo, racking up mainstream box office hits, while he labors away at more artistic endeavors. Weinstein acknowledged that while they may be considered a “Robin Hood” company, he cares about the bottom line too but is happy that Bob’s choices enable him to do what he does to “stand up for movies.”
Weinstein’s standing up for movies today extends to standing up for watching movies the “old fashioned” way. Weinstein characterizes himself as a traditionalist; His movie watching mode of choice is in a real movie theater, with a 90 foot in-home screen registering a close second-best.
Weinstein acknowledged, however, that the movie industry is becoming a “business of convenience” for consumers. Towards that end, Weinstein is betting on DVDs, which he gauges to be a $21 billion domestic market.
The Weinstein Company, created by Weinstein with his brother after they left Miramax, has invested in Genius Products, "a leading independent home-entertainment distribution company that produces, licenses, and distributes a valuable library of motion pictures, television programming, lifestyle and trends entertainment on DVD and other emerging platforms through its expansive network of retailers throughout the U.S."
Weinstein says “Genius Home Video” has grown from $50 million in gross revenues to $750 million. Weinstein acknowledge that the “traditional” DVD business is vulnerable to new movie distribution platforms but is content to go along for what he estimates will be a “slow” billion yearly DVD market decline.
The Weinstein Company has hedged its interactive bets with an investment in an online high-end social networking venture, aSmallWorld, which Weinstein believes will yield a big payoff.