Thursday, January 28, 2010

Disney Pulls the Plug on Miramax

The storied arthouse movie studio, started by Harvey and Bob Weinstein more than 30 years ago and then bought by Disney, is closing its New York and Los Angeles offices and laying off 80 employees, according to Hollywood Web site

Miramax was named after Harvey and Bob's parents, but after a slow death from thousands of cuts, Miramax was officially closed today by Disney.

Though it was bought for $70 million by Disney in 1993, the brothers continued to run Miramax with an enviable level of creative control, and pushed their already legendary Oscar-hunting style to new heights with the expanded funding offered by the Mouse House. Among the successes as winners or nominees were Shakespeare In Love, Chicago and The Talented Mr Ripley.

But money was also a constant problem, and the Weinsteins began to clash with Michael Eisner. In 2005, Bob and Harvey left the company, forced to let go of the Miramax named and formed The Weinstein Company, which currently struggles with financing issues.

The loss of Miramax is a shock to the independent film industry, which has been shrinking rapidly as other large Hollywood studios have shuttered their indie divisions. With hits like Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, and The English Patient, Miramax dominated the American indie industry for years.

A sad day indeed!
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