Weinsteins to leave Disney, Miramax in September

MUMBAI: This is a piece of news that could have far reaching implications in terms of how Disney runs its film studio Miramax. The media conglomerate has announced that the founders of Miramax, Harvey and Bob Weinstein will leave Disney and by extension Miramax in September. The Weinsteins had been with Disney for 12 years. Last year Miramax completed 25 years in existence.


This separation should come as no surprise. Last year the relationship between the Weinsteins and Disney took a turn for the worse. While Disney downright gave Miramax the loser's tag, founders and co-chairmen of Miramax -- Harvey and Bob Weinstein -- had asked Disney to quote a sum so that they could buy back the studio.

At that time Disney CEO Michael Eisner had said that he wouldn't sell Miramax even though the studio had been unprofitable in three of the past five years. Another sore point took place last year when Disney stopped the Weinsteins from distributing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 which would go on to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Over the years Miramax made and distributed landmark films such as Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, The Aviator, Good Will Hunting and Sex, Lies And Videotape.

As per the termination agreement the Weinsteins will remain co-chairmens of Miramax on a non-exclusive basis till 30 September 2005. During this period, they will focus their efforts on completing projects currently in production and will oversee the marketing and distribution of Miramax and Dimension films scheduled for release.

Earlier there had been speculation that the Weinsteins could go to Paramount. However now they have announced that they will own and operate a new company, which is currently being developed. They will immediately begin the production, development and acquisition of new projects for their new venture. Details about the

Weinsteins new company, including its name, financial backers and other specifics, will be announced during the next several weeks.

Disney will retain the name "Miramax Films" and the Miramax and Dimension film libraries, while the Weinsteins will take the Dimension label to their new company.



Dwelling on the seperation the Weinsteins addressed Disney employees by saying, "We recognise that the past several months have been especially challenging and we are extremely grateful for your patience, understanding and continuing contributions to Miramax and Dimension?s success. We understand that the speculation about the company?s future has created uncertainty for each of you and we truly appreciate your ongoing professionalism and performance.

"We are incredibly grateful for the chances we have been given at Disney over the past 12 years. As movie fans, we truly appreciate the unique opportunities we have had to work with some of the greatest talent, both on screen and off, in sharing such a wide range of independent and foreign films and Miramax and Dimension productions with audiences around the world

"We are very proud of the company Miramax we have built over the past 25 years and of the films that, with your help, we?ve been able to bring to audiences around the world. As we are completing one chapter, we are preparing to begin the next."

Paying tribute to the Weinsteins Disney president and COO Robert Iger said "Disney's film library has benefited tremendously from the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films developed under Harvey and Bob. Their creative instincts are undeniable, and they have developed a valuable asset for this company. We look forward to future collaborations with them through this newly established relationship."

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