Co-Founder of Miramax
One of the most influential and prominent figures in Hollywood, movie producer Harvey Weinstein is widely known as the co-founder of Miramax Films Corporation, with his brother Bob, purchased by Disney in 1993, and has enjoyed great accomplishments with the release of such successful features as Muriel’s Wedding (1994), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Postman (1994), The English Patient (1996), Marvin’s Room (1996), Citizen Ruth (1996), Good Will Hunting (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998, won an Oscar, a BAFTA Film Award and a Golden Satellite Award), The Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000), In the Bedroom (2001), Chicago (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), The Aviator (2004) and Finding Neverland (2004). In addition, the brothers are also known for their shrewd marketing of controversial products, including The Thin Blue Line (1988), The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), Paris Is Burning (1990), The Pope Must Die (1991) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004).
“Most of the executives who left Disney; Meg Whitman, Steve Burke, Joe Roth, Jeffrey Katzenberg; have all gone on to create wealth for themselves. Hopefully, Bob and I will follow in that tradition.” Harvey Weinstein
After 12 years, Harvey and Bob ended their partnership with Disney and formed their own production company provisionally called The Weinstein Co., in 2005. The new company’s first bona fide money collector was the spoof Scary Movie 4 (2006).
As for upcoming projects, Harvey will executive produce a number of movies, including The Nanny Diaries (2007), The Nutty Professor (2007), Sin City 2 (2008) and Knight Rider (2008).
Outside the limelight, Harvey was married to Eve Chilton Weinstein from 1986 until 2004, and has three children with her. Currently, he is romancing British fashion tycoon Georgina Chapman. She is the co-founder of the Marchesa fashion label.
Childhood and Family:
Son of Miriam Weinstein and Max Weinstein (died of heart attack at age 52), Harvey Weinstein was born on March 19, 1952, in Flushing, Queens, New York. Along with his younger brother, Bob, he was raised in a Jewish family in New York City, where the family lived in a co-op called Electchester. After graduating from John Bowne High School, Harvey attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, but dropped out to pursue his producing career. Despite not completing his course of study there, he later accepted an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters.
Harvey tied the knot with Eve Chilton Weinstein in 1986. After having three children, the couple divorced in 2004. He currently resides in Westport, Connecticut. Harvey was given the nickname “Harvey Scissorhands,” after the Tim Burton movie Edward Scissorhands, due to his demands to trim the running times of films.
The Weinstein Co.
Raised with an interest in film and production, Harvey Weinstein, together with his brother Bob Weinstein, independently produced concerts as Harvey & Corkey Productions in college in the late 1970s, and started producing features, beginning with The Secret Policeman’s Ball (1979), which they attained at the Cannes Film Festival. With the profit they got from the film, the Weinsteins founded Miramax Films, named after their parents, that same year, and soon, they made their existence known in the cinematic industry by producing several controversial features. Harvey and Miramax gained their first breakthrough in 1988 with the release of Errol Morris’s scorching documentary The Thin Blue Line, which focused on the effort of Randall Adams, a wrongfully convicted prisoner sentenced to death row. The studio cemented its name as the most flourishing independent studio in America the next year by releasing Steven Soderbergh’s provocative Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
Harvey and Miramax continued to create controversy with their products. Two art-house movies, Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) and Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), both received an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). They sued and although the case was dismissed, the MPAA instituted the new NC-17 rating. Many religious organizations condemned their following releases, Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning (1990) and Peter Richardson’s mocking farce The Pope Must Die (1991).
In 1993, Harvey and Bob surprised Hollywood when they received Disney’s offer to purchase Miramax for $80 million. They were kept at the head of their company, and in 1994, Miramax again scored success with features like P.J. Hogan’s Muriel’s Wedding, the box office hit Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and The Postman/ Il Postino, which received several Academy Award nominations. Two years later, Harry enjoyed another victory when the Miramax-produced The English Patient won an Oscar for Best Picture, which was followed with such critical and/or blockbuster hits as Jerry Zaks’ Marvin’s Room and Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth (both 1996). The same year, he also served as executive producer of the highly-successful Wes Craven’s Scream, distributed by Dimension Films, his brother’s new off-shoot.
After the acclaimed Good Will Hunting (1997), Harvey again gained appreciation for his producing work on the Joseph Fiennes-starring vehicle Shakespeare in Love (1998), which won an Oscar, a BAFTA Film and a Golden Satellite for Best Picture. The Oscar darlings like director’s Lasse Hallstrom The Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000), In the Bedroom (2001), Chicago (2002), Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), The Aviator (2004) and Finding Neverland (2004) followed. With the accomplishments, Miramax earned a desirable reputation and Harvey became an iconic figure in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Harvey also rejoined Quentin Tarantino as executive producer for Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), as well as executive produced the highly popular The Lord of the Ring series and the controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004). With Dimension, he also experienced box office smash hits with the Scary Movie and Spy Kids franchises.
In 2005, The Weinsteins once again attracted the attention of the public when they decided to end their 12-year fruitful affiliation with Disney, and announced the creation of a new company, “The Weinstein Co.,” with a recommended board, including various investment bankers and media executives as well as, reportedly, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. While the new studio, which planned to release 15 to 20 films a year, began getting its foothold, Miramax released a number of vehicles with Harvey credited as producer, including The Great Raid (2005), Derailed (2005) and The Brothers Grimm (2005). The Weinstein Company had its first box office hit with 2006’s Scary Movie 4, David Zucker’s comedy-horror flick that parodied numerous Hollywood motion pictures such as The Saw (2004) and The Village (2004).
Recently executive producing The Ex (2007) and Grindhouse (2007), Harvey has 13 projects under his belt set to be released. They are The Nanny Diaries, The Last Legion, The Last Legion, Awake, Rogue, Killshot, The Mist, Halloween, The Equalizer, Kung Fu High School, Fahrenheit 9/11½, The Nutty Professor, The Prom and Four Knights. Knight Rider, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and Sin City 2.