Be afraid independent Hollywood producers and filmmakers. Miramax is now in Tutor’s hands. The Walt Disney Company announced late tonight that Filmyard Holdings LLC has acquired the prestigious library for approximately $660 million.
Filmyard includes a group of investors including LA businessmen Ron Tutor, Tom Barrack and Colony Capital LLC among others. According to a release from Disney, the transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and is expected to close between September 10, 2010 and the end of the calendar year.
Disney President and CEO Robert Iger seemed thrilled about what can only be described as a shortsighted decision to release a library including “Kill Bill,” “Shakespeare in Love” and “The English Patient.”
“Although we are very proud of Miramax’s many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands,” Iger says. “We are delighted that we have found a home for the Miramax brand and Miramax’s very highly regarded motion picture library.”
Tutor, who has been close business partners with disgraced film producer David Bergstein, is a real estate magnet with little knowledge of the movie industry and has admitted he is only interested in funding or acquiring the bare minimum of new releases to keep the current library viable. Publicly, however, Tutor noted, “I am delighted and honored to acquire the Miramax library. On behalf of my partners Tom Barrack and Colony Capital, we look forward to sharing this high quality content with the world in every form of media for many years to come.”
And no, he’s not looking forward to working with filmmakers in creating new and commercially viable independent features. Sadly, one only needs to look at MGM’s current financial predicament to realize just sitting on a library is the best way to kill a studio’s brand and value. Disney should be ashamed for selling to Tutor and his partners when either the Weinsteins or other buyers would have handled the assets more appropriately.
Disney is still expected to market and distribute the upcoming finished Miramax films “The Switch,” “The Debt” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.”
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