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Maria Contreras-Sweet Bid Leads Weinstein Co Auction; Staff Would Stay, Bob Weinstein Exit, Women Lead Board

EXCLUSIVE: After a protracted bidding process, the sale of the scandal-scarred The Weinstein Company..

EXCLUSIVE: After a protracted bidding process, the sale of the scandal-scarred The Weinstein Company is close at hand, and the company will rise from the ashes with a future that will be forged by women, timely on a day when the Golden Globes is expected to be dominated by the #metoo theme, which was borne out of allegations of sexual assault and harassment by co-founder Harvey Weinstein. Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Barack Obama administration, has emerged as the frontrunner to soon complete a deal to buy the pieces and resurrect a company that will be renamed, and majority controlled by women, sources said. Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Enterprises and Lantern Capital are minority partners in the bid, sources said. The derby isn’t quite done yet and Lionsgate is also squarely in the mix.

Bob Weinstein, who founded TWC with brother Harvey Weinstein, is expected to exit and set up his own company and take the Dimension Films name along with properties that include The Six Million Dollar Man, which has interest from both Warner Bros, and potential star Mark Wahlberg.

As Deadline reported last December, the board pored over bids –more than 20 came in, including bids for just the TV component, or the library — and the ones in the final round include Lionsgate, a Killer Content bid backed by Abigail Disney (daughter of Roy Disney), Shamrock Capital, Vine Investments, Sony (for the television business), MSD Partners, Critical Content, Versa, and Qatar-based beIN, which owns Miramax. The finalists are Contreras-Sweet, Lionsgate and Killer Content, which would for sure put women at the helm, as well as Sony, Shamrock and Vine, the latter two for the library.

Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company will sell for around $500 million, a figure I’ve also heard. That number includes a purchase around $275 million, an infusion of fresh capital, plus the assumption of liabilities and operating costs that includes keeping employed the long suffering 157 or so staffers and managers whose lives turned upside down the moment that The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed shocking first person accounts of sexual assault and harassment allegedly perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, who was summarily fired by the board of directors.

TWC will quickly be renamed and it is all moving quickly as the intent is to complete the deal before the money runs out in February, when it would need bankruptcy protection. Phoenix might be an appropriate name given the potential turnaround here, but that is taken by Mike Medavoy’s company. There is the possibility this new company could be in motion for Sundance, where Weinstein was once the biggest buyer of prestige films, going all the way back to Steven Soderbergh’s sex lies & videotape.

If it is Contreras-Sweet who emerges victorious, she certainly puts a positive face on a company that badly needs one. Her bid has no contingencies, and solid backing. She is an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico and was executive chairwoman and founder of ProAmerica Band, a commercial lender to small to mid-sized business with a specialty in the Latino community. She became California’s cabinet secretary overseeing the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency before spending three years as a member of President Obama’s cabinet.

Contreras-Sweet has followed through on her pitch letter to the board of directors in late November, where she promised to not only assume liabilities but also infuse new capital to retain staff and pay suppliers. While the shock of the Weinstein scandal left those with TV or movie projects wanting to get far away with series and films that have been stalled, that stigma might be removed if this deal makes. Her bid was blessed by Gloria Allred, who will rep numerous women who file civil lawsuits against Weinstein. Included is contingency funding that will be paired with insurance policies to cover liabilities related to claims against Weinstein.

The bidder inherits a strong lineup of library titles and output deals with the likes of Netflix. Projects include the Kevin Costner-Taylor Sheridan series Yellowstone, movies like the recut Benedict Cumberbatch-Michael Shannon-starrer The Current War and the Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes musical In The Heights, Hotel Mumbai, the Armie Hammer-Dev Patel starrer Hotel Mumbai, as well as numerous other series and films. It might make possible the David O Russell-directed series with Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, which was scrapped at Amazon even though it had a two-season commitment.

Investment banker Lloyd Greif said word has circled that it came down to Contreras-Sweet and Lionsgate, with motivations that couldn’t be more different: Lionsgate is looking to bulk up its portfolio at a time when companies are looking to grow larger in the wake of the Disney acquisition of Fox and the pending merger of AT&T and Time Warner.

“You’re either prey or predator,” Greif said. “This is an opportunity to buy on the cheap.”

In this scenario, Lionsgate would look to acquire content, but it doesn’t need or want the The Weinstein Co.’s organization. Even the tainted Weinstein brand might disappear, Greif said.

Contreras-Sweet presents a phoenix-rising-from-the ashes opportunity, in which, “The phoenix is wearing a dress,” Greif said. The ne company, he said, “will be accepted by the entertainment community at large — writers, actors and directors.”

Contreras-Sweet is the only potential acquirer who would keep the studio intact — making her the likely preferred buyer, assuming all offers are roughly equal. This option also gives The Weinstein Co.’s board to claim a modest victory at a moment of defeat. After all, the investors who were close to a megadeal with ITV that imploded when Weinstein was investigated for groping an actress/model in New York. are essentially walking away losing their investment. The board is expected to be gone in the new configuration.

“The board could say, ‘We saved all these people’s jobs!'” Greif said.

No comment from TWC.

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James Cameron confirms Edward Furlong will return to Terminator franchise in Dark Fate

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton had a heros welcome at San Diego Comic Con as they dropped new footage and info about Terminator: Dark Fate.

Terminator: Dark Fate is a direct sequel to 1991s Judgement Day but in Hall H on Thursday, the stars of the film revealed more details with producer James Cameron confirming that Edward Furlong would also be returning to the franchise 28 years after Judgement Day.

Producer Tim Miller revealed that the film will be R-rated and that the crew have been shooting a lot of takes of Sarah Connor dropping the F bomb, while he also teased that the film deals with the consequences of Sarahs decision at the end of T2 to destroy CyberDyne.

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In the Terminator universe, there is only one timeline. If you change something in the past, the time wave moves forward and changes the future, he said.

 Terminator 2: Judgement Day,

Edward starred in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Picture; Rex)

Cameron dialled in on a Skype call and revealed that he sent Linda a long email outlining the pros and cons for why she should join the project.

I think the key point in the pro column was people love you in this character, he said.

It was so iconic and I think the fans just want to know whats she like now? Whats her life been like in the meantime?

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton kiss at the Terminator: Dark Fate (Picture: Invision)

The panel shared a teaser for the film which focuses on a Terminator chasing after good guys before Sarah arrives to save the day.

When they ask who she is, she says: My name is Sarah Connor. Aug 29, 1997 was supposed to be judgment day.

My son and I stopped that. We changed the future. Saved three billion lives. Youre welcome. Since then, I hunt terminators. Enough of a resume for you?

 Gabriel Luna, Mackenzie Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta, Tim Miller

Terminator: Dark Fate will hit cinemas in October (Picture: Rex)

Dark Fate follows a new terminator (Gabriel Luna), who has the power to create a carbon copy of himself and is on a mission to terminate a young girl (Natalia Reyes).

More: Arnold Schwarzenegger

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She is being protected by a new terminator/human hybrid played by Mackenzie Davis, and the girls soon find themselves getting a helping hand from the one and only SarRead More – Source

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First trailer for Cats drops and Taylor Swift as a furry feline really is something

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The first trailer for Cats dropped today and from Taylor Swift to Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench and James Corden, all getting about as the furry felines of the iconic stage musical, it really is something.

With an ensemble cast also starring Ian McKellen, Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson, weve been waiting with bated breath for the first look at these actors as alley cats.

While weve been treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the cast rehearsing, released to our tingling senses on Wednesday, this is the first time weve seen the characters in their costumes.

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And, its something we may never unsee.

Like, the effects are spellbinding – were starting to think perhaps these actors were half-way through morphing into actual cats, but something went wrong with the left phalange and they were left as cats with their superstar faces the only human remains.

Are we getting too into this?

taylor swift in cats

Taylor is Bombalurina (Picture: Universal)

Dame Judi Dench in Cats

Dame Judi Dench is here (Picture: Universal)

Dame Judi, who plays the character of Old Deuteronomy, was cast in 1981s stage show, but just before they were due to open she snapped her Achilles and thought shed never get the chance to star in Cats again.

Look at her now!

The graceful Victoria is played by Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward, who is introduced in her feature film debut. Not a bad flick to score first time on screen.

Cats

Francesca makes her big screen debut (Picture: Universal)

Jason Derulo in Cats

Jasons Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat (Picture: Universal)

Taylor, wholl take on the role of Bombalurina, went straight from her stadium tour into Cats rehearsals, as she was seen prowling around and slinking alongside Idris (the great Macavity) in this weeks teaser, and the duo look pretty great working their stuff alongside professional dancers.

The set looks pretty remarkable, with the unmistakable Cats cobbled streets and back alley streetscapes receiving their due attention. The scale is three or four times bigger according to Idris, in order to tell this from a cats perspective.

Jennifer hudson in cats

Jennifers rendition of Memory is already breaking our hearts (Picture: Universal)

Idris Elba in Cats

Idris as Macavity (Picture: Universal)

James Cordon in Cats

And then weve got James Cordon as Bustopher Jones (Picture: Universal)

Idris looks totally on point as Macavity, as the gnarled cat watches over the streets, while Taylors Bombalurina sprinkles catnip on what appeared to be the Jellicle Ball.

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The film will follow the tale of the Jellicle cats as they hold the ball for Old Deuteronomy will pick which feline to take to the HeavRead More – Source

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Who in the Lion King cast was also in the original movie?

James Earl Jones is a familiar voice in The Lion King movies

The moment Lion King fans have been wa..

Comp of James Earl Jones and Mufasa in The Lion King

James Earl Jones is a familiar voice in The Lion King movies

The moment Lion King fans have been waiting for is finally here, with the live-action reboot due to open in UK cinemas this weekend following its UK premiere on Sunday night.

The new version of the Disney classic will be familiar to fans of the original in a lot of ways – with the story and many of the songs from the 1994 animated hit included, from Circle Of Life to Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

Its also got a whole new voice cast, with the likes of Donald Glover voicing Simba and Beyonce voicing Nala, while Seth Rogen, John Oliver and Chiwetel Ejiofor are also on board.

But has the movie retained any of its original 1994 cast members? Well yes, as it happens.

Heres what you need to know…

Who in the Lion King cast was also in the original movie?

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While most of the cast of the new movie is new to the Lion King, there is one notable exception – in the shape of actor James Earl Jones.

The 88-year-old acting legend – who also voiced Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise – lent his distinctive voice to the role of Mufasa in the 1994 Lion King, and hes reprised it for the 2019 version.

The Lion King film Simba and Mufasa scene

Mufasa is a pivotal part of The Lion King (Picture: Disney)

Director Jon Favreau has explained why he decided to bring Jones back for the reboot – saying it was a pretty easy decision to make.

I see it as carrying the legacy across, he said. Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal.

He admitted that having Jones on board was a bit intimidating also, saying: He was in New York and I was in Los Angeles, and you hear his voice over the headphones and its hard to try to be the director. Because when hes on the phone and he says, “Do you have any direction for me as Mufasa?”.I didnt really know what to say! I was like, “Anything that I have in my mind of what Mufasa is, is based on you”.

Actor James Earl Jones who is voicing Mufasa in The Lion King reboot

James Earl Jones voiced Mufasa in the 1994 Lion King as well as the reboot (Picture: Getty Images)

So, you know, you want to be supportive and helpful, but all I could do is keep from tearing up when I heard him recite the lines.

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As well as the two theatrically released Lion King movies, Jones also voiced Mufasa int he 2015 Disney Channel original movie The Lion Guard: Return of The Roar.

When is The Lion King released?

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