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Home Video Vets Spared Miramax Layoffs

20 Mar, 2002 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Two veteran home video executives who are now at Miramax Films were spared in the independent film studio's round of layoffs March 15 that trimmed 75 people from a work force of approximately 540 people.

Elliot Slutzky, a former executive with such independent video suppliers as Epic and LIVE, is executive VP and general sales manager of domestic distribution at Miramax.

Kevin Kasha, a former sales VP at New Line Home Entertainment, runs Miramax's home video division.

The layoffs did, however, include a "low-level" employee of the Miramax Home Entertainment unit, a studio source says. Other layoffs were spread across the company, with publicity and production and development hit especially hard.

The source notes that with the layoffs, Miramax staffing is back at its pre-October 2001 levels. Since then, the work force was beefed up in preparation for a busy holiday season in which such high-profile films as In the Bedroom and Kate and Leopold were released theatrically.

Miramax had escaped the blood-letting that occurred last year at other entertainment companies, but the studio has had a spotty record at the box office and is said to be moving back to art-house and foreign films like In the Bedroom, its acclaimed Oscar nominee.

Commercial disappointments include such mainstream films as The Shipping News, which grossed a mere $11.4 million in U.S. theaters, and Birthday Girl, which pulled in just $5 million even though it stars Nicole Kidman. Box office hits include Serendipity ($50 million), Amelie ($30 million), In the Bedroom ($32 million) and Kate and Leopold ($47 million).

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