Television

Disney terms Miramax unprofitable; Weinsteins ready to buy back

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MUMBAI: The souring relationship between Miramax studio and its parent Walt Disney Company has triggered a war of statements. While Disney has downright given Miramax the loser's tag, founders and co-chairmen of Miramax -- Harvey and Bob Weinstein -- have asked Disney to quote a sum so that they can buy back the studio.

Last week, Eisner went on record saying Disney had no plans to sell Miramax though the studio had been unprofitable in three of the past five years. While opposing Eisner's statement, Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said the studio was making money, as evidenced by Disney's having had to pay the Weinsteins a bonus that had been predicated on Miramax' turning a profit.

''If Disney thinks Miramax is so unprofitable, Bob and Harvey would be happy to buy it back if Disney names the price,'' Hiltzik was quoted as saying in media reports.

This made Disney President Robert Iger to extend his support to Eisner by claiming Miramax has been unprofitable in recent years.

''They're not taking into account standard overhead, distribution fees, bonuses that we pay Bob and Harvey. Nor are they applying current accounting rules. So, yes, there are two sides to the story, but I think our side of the story is a rather credible side," Iger was quoted as saying in reports.

Disney acquired Miramax 11 years ago. It is reported that Disney intends to pay Weinstein brothers less money and to impose caps on exploding budgets at Miramax. The studio known for breeding small and inexpensive films has been focusing on expensive projects of late as last year's $80 million Cold Mountain and $70 million The Green Hornet, which is currently under production.

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