SMELL YA LATER, MIRAMAX: 1979-2010

Senior Editor
01.29.10 24 Comments

You’d better get your cousin Timmy a bowl of ice cream and a hanky for his tears, because little kids shouldn’t have to hear stuff like this.  Sadly, it’s true, Timmy, Miramax is dead.  The 31-year-old company founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein (they left to form The Weinstein Company in 2005), which gave Quentin Tarantino his start, among other things, is packing their sh*t and leaving town like one of your stepdads.

My Left Foot, Reservoir Dogs, The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Sex Lies and Videotape, Clerks, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, The Crying Game, The Talented M. Ripley, Chicago, The Aviator, Kill Bill I and II, Ciderhouse Rules, Good Will Hunting, Swingers…

Eighty people will lose their jobs. The six movies waiting distribution — “Last Night,” “The Debt,” “The Tempest” among them — will be shelved, to gather dust, or win a tepid release.

“Miramax wasn’t just a bad-boy clubhouse, it was a 20th century Olympus,” filmmaker Kevin Smith wrote to TheWrap.

“Throw a can of Diet Coke and you hit a modern-day deity. And for one brief, shining moment, it was an age of magic and wonders.” [Settle down, fruity, let’s not get carried away here…]

The story of Miramax has been told and retold: Scrappy New York brothers name the studio after their parents, wheel and deal to hold their movie company together, bully business partners, seduce filmmakers and spend loads of money on Oscar campaigns.
Then came the sale to Disney. The success, the hubris, the Oscars, the overspending. The loss of identity, the desperate attempts to reconcile with Michael Eisner followed by the bitter divorce, and the quiet takeover by Daniel Battsek.
The final chapter has been short and bitter. Battsek was squeezed to a smaller and smaller size by Disney, despite releasing some respectable movies including “The Queen,” “Tsotsi” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”

The Weinsteins have tried to buy the name of their former company back. Disney has not responded. But Bob Iger has made it known that he would be willing to sell Miramax outright — for about $1.5 billion  Too rich for the Weinsteins, and probably anybody else. [TheWrap]

I kid, but it’s true that few if any studios out there can claim to have made as many kickass movies as Miramax.  (*pours a couple eight-balls on the ground in honor of my homies*)

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