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Miramax Will Return to Its Roots After Weinsteins

30 Mar, 2005 By: Angelique F., Kurt I.

The new Miramax in a post-Weinstein-brothers era at Disney will likely be a leaner operation, focused more on making the kind of indie-like films the company made its name producing, and will thus see a reduction in the approximately 400-person company, sources close to the situation said.

The Weinsteins have over the past several years been pursuing bigger-budget films, such as The Aviator,, a direction Disney execs reportedly felt took it away from the purpose of Miramax's acquisition some 12 years ago, which early on saw the release of such films as The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Il Postino and others.

What that means for the home video operation at Miramax is still unclear, although the level of autonomy it enjoyed from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which distributes the Miramax titles, is likely to disappear, sources said.

The split was announced yesterday by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios and Miramax co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

After 12 years with Disney, the Weinstein brothers will stay as Miramax co-chairs until Sept. 30. During this time, they'll focus on wrapping up projects in production and will oversee the marketing and distribution of Miramax and Dimension films scheduled for release. The Weinsteins will not make any new financial commitments toward the development, acquisition or production of projects on Miramax's behalf.

Meanwhile, sources say that a new head for Miramax could be in place by as early as the end of May or beginning of June, at which point significant changes are expected.

Disney will retain the Miramax name, and the Miramax and Dimension film libraries. It will not include films produced or in production in which the Weinsteins retained co-financing by other parties. When the Weinsteins part, they will take the Dimension label, in name only, with them to their new company.

The Weinsteins will own and operate a new company, which is already in development, and immediately will begin production and acquisition of new projects. More details about the new venture will follow over the next few weeks.

Disney will collaborate with the Weinsteins and their new venture through other projects, such as the co-production of sequels to their hit films franchises like “Scary Movie” and “Spy Kids,” and by co-financing the production and distribution of original films such as Breaking and Entering and Matador.

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