Courtesy the Weinstein Company
The fate of the Weinstein Company was already looking pretty bleak in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations—including accusations of both harassment and assault—against its former chief executive officer, Harvey Weinstein, earlier this month. More than 80 women have come forward, according to a list compiled by Asia Argento, one of Weinstein’s accusers, and some have called for the complete dissolution of the Weinstein Company’s board of directors. One woman, Amanda Segel, who executive-produced the Weinstein Company’s Spike series, The Mist, has also alleged harassment by Weinstein’s brother Bob Weinstein, according to Variety.
The company had two films scheduled for release next month: The Current War, in which Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Thomas Edison opposite Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, and Polaroid, a horror film that had been pitched as the next The Grudge or The Ring. But both movies’ release dates have now been pushed back to 2018, ostensibly while the Weinstein Company assesses its future: “Insiders say it would have been impossible to release The Current War amid the scandal erupting over numerous allegations of sexual harassment,” The Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday evening. Previously, Deadline had reported Weinstein’s name was removed from the credits for The Current War, which the Weinstein Company had regarded as its strongest prospect entering awards season. (Variety reported Polaroid's release had been delayed "with no explanation," which, fair, though one might argue it needs little explanation.)
As a result of the postponements, the Weinstein Company will release no further films in 2017—which is probably for the best, considering its first premiere after the New York Times and New Yorker accounts of Weinstein’s misconduct were published, the Amityville Horror sequel Amityville: The Awakening, grossed just $742. Like the Weinstein Company’s other recent critical and commercial flop, Tulip Fever, Amityville: The Awakening suffered from a lackluster marketing campaign and severe delays (both were filmed in 2014; Tulip Fever was released in September after numerous setbacks, and Amityville: The Awakening was released the weekend before Halloween). Amityville's shortcomings were probably only exacerbated by the weight of allegations against Weinstein.
Cumberbatch, the star of The Current War (and an Oscar nominee for his previous Weinstein Company-produced film, The Imitation Game), did not hold back in his indictment of the Weinstein allegations. “I am utterly disgusted by the continuing revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s horrifying and unforgivable actions,” he said in a statement five days after the first story broke, according to Deadline. “We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you. That way others may be emboldened by our support to come forward and speak. But we shouldn’t wait until there are any more stories like this,” he continued. “We, as an industry and as a society at large, need to play our part. There has to be zero tolerance of any such behavior in any walk of life. We owe that to these women’s bravery in coming forward.”
In addition to the deferred releases for both films, Amazon backed out of the Weinstein Company’s as-yet-untitled David O. Russell television series and took over The Romanoffs, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner's new anthology series, without the company’s involvement. Apple also cut ties with the Weinstein Company, cancelling plans for four miniseries about Elvis Presley, Prince, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra, according to the same Hollywood Reporter story. And just yesterday, the New York Post reported that the Weinstein Co. could soon be forced into bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, the accusations against Weinstein continue to grow in volume: The most recent claims, published by the New York Times Tuesday, extend back to the ’70s.
'Stranger Things' star Sadie Sink explains the biggest trends of the '80s: