After thirty-one years of operation, the New York and Los Angeles offices of arthouse movie distributor Miramax Films closes their doors today – effectively the end of the company reports The Wrap.
The move has been inevitable since the Disney takeover and Weinstein brothers departure years ago. In recent years the Mouse House has shrunk the company further and further. With Rich Ross’ regime change at Disney late last year, the last remnants of the once powerhouse mini-major have been swept away in the name of strengthening the Disney brand in the coming digital future.
Throughout the 90’s and most of the 00’s, the mini-major produced a string of award-winners and commercial success stories including “The Aviator,” “Chicago,” “Chocolat,” “The Cider House Rules,” “Clerks,” “Cold Mountain,” “The Crying Game,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “The English Patient,” “Gangs of New York,” “Good Will Hunting,” “The Hours,” “Kill Bill,” “The Others,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Queen,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Swingers,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Trainspotting”
Recently the Weinsteins have tried to buy the name of their former company back, but Disney has not responded. Disney chief Bob Iger has generally made it known he’d be willing to sell Miramax outright for around $1.5 billion – a price too rich in the still quiet economy.
One big question now is the fate of the six completed projects the studio has sitting on a shelf. It’s expected these will either be essentially stuck on a shelf for years to come, or quietly slipped out with little to no fanfare. One hopes Disney will be wise enough to sell them off to another distributor who will devote the proper time and funds to distribute and market them properly.
These films include the Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman romantic comedy “The Baster”; the Mossad spy thriller “The Debt” with Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington; the supernatural remake “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” with Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes; the animated fantasy “Gnomeo and Juliet” with James McAvoy and Emily Blunt; the infidelity drama “Last Night” (aka. “Tell Me”) with Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes; and Julie Taymor’s Shakespeare adaptation “The Tempest” with Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina and Russell Brand.