Award-Winning Movie Studio Shuts its Doors

01/28/2010 at 1:40 pm | Posted in Flik/Spec | Leave a comment
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After almost 31 years in operation, a movie studio – once known for artful movies that changed the history of the Academy Awards – has permanently closed down operations.

As of this morning, Miramax has closed their doors.

Created by Bob & Harvey Weinstein in 1979, this studio was designed to distribute independent films that would not get much exposure.  Throughout the years, the studio found great success both critically and commercially with their films, ushering new talent that have gone on to greater success in Hollywood.  Thanks to their 1993 acquisition by Disney, the Weinsteins were able to expand their budgets, while still functioning independently from the major studio.

Some of their award-winning movies included Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, The Crying Game, & Chicago.

Miramax also allowed some influential filmmakers turn their concepts into cinematic gold – such as Quentin Tarantino & Kevin Smith.

The Hollywood marriage of the Weinsteins & Disney officially ended in September of 2005.  After not coming to a favorable contract renewal to run Miramax (Disney’s CEO Michael Eisner wasn’t comfortable with giving them so much freedom financially and creatively), the brothers left to start a new studio: The Weinstein Company (TWC).  Disney kept Miramax for its own art-house label, and TWC took Dimension Films with them.

Since then, both TWC & Miramax have been struggling away from each other.  Miramax has had a few critical successes, such as The Queen, There Will Be Blood, & No Country for Old Men; however, their profits have become non-existent.  Last October, Disney executives announced that there would be employee cuts, and the studio would be dropping to about three releases each year.

The Weinsteins haven’t been able to find the same success they enjoyed as leaders of Miramax.  For every movie that would be well-received (Inglorious Basterds & 1408), they’d have 5-6 times as many that would flop (Halloween II, Who’s Your Caddy?, The Ex, and the recent disappointing Nine).  This past year they have also had to push back release dates for some films due to lack of funding.

Recently, the Weinsteins tried to buy back the Miramax name, without the library of films.  Disney’s Bob Iger said he’s would have no problem selling off Miramax…for $1.5 billion.  Seeing as how Disney originally bought the studio and its library for $70 million – and its value has been killed by horrible profits – the selling price sounds like a polite way of saying “screw you”.

Regardless, Miramax’s LA and New York offices will be shut down for good today; leaving 80 people without work.

Read what Kevin Smith had to say about the studio shutting down:  http://www.thewrap.com/blog-entry/kevin-smith-im-crushed-see-miramax-pass-13608

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