Miramax Films - Disney Era

Disney Era

In 1993 Miramax was purchased for $60 million by The Walt Disney Company. Harvey and Bob Weinstein continued to operate Miramax until they left the company on September 30, 2005. During their tenure, the Weinstein brothers ran Miramax independently of other Disney companies. Disney, however, had the final say on what Miramax could release (see Fahrenheit 9/11, Kids and Dogma, for examples). Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment division releases Miramax output.

Miramax operated, until 2005, the label Dimension Films, specializing in genre films and created the Spy Kids, Scream and Scary Movie film franchises.

After extensive negotiations and much media and industry speculation, on March 30, 2005, Disney and the Weinsteins announced that they would not renew their contractual relationship when their existing agreements expired at the end of September 2005. The primary source of dispute was over distribution of Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore. Disney's film studio consortium, Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group assumed control of Miramax, which was projected to have a smaller annual production budget. The Weinsteins started a new film production company called simply The Weinstein Company, and took the Dimension Films label with them. The Miramax name remained with the film studio owned by Disney. Production at Miramax was taken over by Daniel Battsek, who formerly was head of Buena Vista International in the UK. Battsek refocused Miramax to produce films of high quality but low budget. Maple Pictures held the rights to distribute Miramax films in Canada from 2008 up until August 10, 2011 when Maple Pictures was acquired by Alliance Films.

On October 3, 2009, Disney announced that the staff of Miramax was to be reduced by 70%, and the number of releases would be reduced by half to just three films per year. The label's marketing, distribution and administrative functions, which had operated independently, would be folded into the parent studio in Burbank. The move became effective in January 2010. On October 30, 2009, Disney announced the resignation of Daniel Battsek as President of Miramax Films, effective when the transition from the studio in New York to Burbank was completed. The company merged its operations with Walt Disney Studios on January 28, 2010, shutting down Miramax's separate New York and Los Angeles offices.

Though Disney Studio Chairman Dick Cook was a staunch supporter of Miramax, the brand was less of a priority for Bob Iger, whose strategy was to focus on Disney's branded mass entertainment that can be exploited across Disney's theme parks, television and consumer products. Following Disney's $4-billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in 2010, Cook was succeeded by Rich Ross. As a result, Miramax was relegated to the status of distribution label. The company confirmed that it was looking into the selling the Miramax label on February 9, 2010, with Bob Iger explaining, "We determined that continuing to invest in new Miramax movies wasn't necessarily a core strategy of ours".

On November 23, 2010, it was reported that Google was interested in purchasing the digital rights to the Miramax library to improve the premium content offerings on YouTube, and compete with similar services such as Hulu and Netflix.

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