Miramax Films has signed a first look agreement to develop scripts and features with The Onion, an online-offline publisher of satirical news which was formed in 1988 in Madison, Wisconsion, and has quickly become a cult source of satire amongst college audiences with a weekly readership of 1 million viewers. Projects which result from the agreement will be produced by The Onion and 3 Arts Entertainment.
The deal comes as The Onion has just relocated its editorial staff from Madison to New York City. "The goal for this Miramax deal is to create movies that don't suck," said Robert Siegel, Onion editor-in-chief.
DreamWorks SKG first showed the crossover appeal of The Onion by optioning two articles in 2000 - 10th Circle Added To Rapidly Growing Hell to be developed as an animated feature by Onion head writer Todd Hanson and Canadian Girlfriend Unsubstantiated to be scripted by former Onion writer and editor Rich Dahm, and produced by Erwin Storff and David Miner of 3 Arts with Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock's Montecito Picture Co.
Jennifer Wachtell, vice president of creative affairs at Miramax, brought the deal into Miramax and will oversee future projects for the company. Steve Hutensky, executive vice president of business and legal affairs, and Stuart Ford, senior vice president of business affairs and international operations, negotiated the deal on behalf of Miramax. Roger Arar of Loeb & Loeb negotiated on behalf of The Onion. The Onion is also represented by 3 Arts.