Miramax

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Miramax
Miramax, LLC
FormerlyMiramax Films (1979—2010)
Company typeJoint venture
Industry
FoundedDecember 19, 1979; 44 years ago (1979-12-19)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Founders
Headquarters
Los Angeles, California
,
U.S.
Key people
Owners
Number of employees
100+
Parent
Divisions
WebsiteOfficial website

Miramax, LLC, formerly known as Miramax Films, is an American independent film and television production and distribution company founded on December 19, 1979, by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and based in Los Angeles, California. Today, it is owned by beIN Media Group and Paramount Global.

It was a leading producer and distributor of independent films until it became the first company acquired by The Walt Disney Company on June 30, 1993. In 2010, Disney sold it to Filmyard Holdings, a joint venture of Colony NorthStar, Tutor-Saliba Corporation and Qatar Investment Authority.[1][2] In March 2016, the company was sold to the beIN Media Group, which later sold a 49% stake to ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global) on April 3, 2020.

History[edit]

Independent era (1979–1993)[edit]

Miramax was founded by the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob, along with executive Corky Burger in Buffalo, New York, in 1979, and was named by combining the first names of their parents, Miriam and Max.[3] It was created to distribute independent films deemed commercially unfeasible by the major studios.

The company's first major success came when the Weinsteins teamed up with British producer Martin Lewis and acquired the U.S. rights to two concert films Lewis had produced of benefit shows for human rights organization Amnesty International. The Weinsteins worked with Lewis to distill the two films into one film for the American marketplace. The resulting film, the American version of The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, was a successful release for Miramax in the summer of 1982. This release presaged a modus operandi that the company would undertake later in the 1980s of acquiring films from international filmmakers and reworking them to suit American sensibilities and audiences. In its early years, Miramax had to focus primarily as a catalyst for music and decided to do a licensing agreement with Thorn EMI Video to release several of Miramax's early films.[4]

Among the company's other breakthrough films as distributors in the late 1980s and early 1990s were Pulp Fiction, Scandal, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, The Crying Game, and Clerks. The company also made films such as Flirting with Disaster, Heavenly Creatures, and Shakespeare in Love.

Miramax acquired and/or produced many other films that did well financially. The company became one of the leaders of the independent film boom of the 1990s. Miramax produced or distributed seven films with box office grosses totaling more than $100 million; its most successful title, Chicago, earned more than $300 million worldwide.[5]

The company was also successful in securing Academy Award nominations for its releases, many of which resulted in Oscar wins.

Disney era (1993–2010)[edit]

On June 30, 1993, The Walt Disney Company purchased Miramax for $60 million and assumed all of the company's debt, which was more than $40 million. The acquisition gave Disney entry to the independent film market.[6] 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 subsidiaries and, as a result, had more autonomy than the other Disney-owned companies. Disney, however, had the final say on what Miramax could release (for example, Disney had banned Miramax from releasing Kids, Dogma and Fahrenheit 9/11).[7] Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment division released Miramax output on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc under the name Miramax Home Entertainment in some countries, including the United States; elsewhere, the overall distribution of Miramax's output was passed to the regional licensees of Miramax International, a distribution arm of Miramax that was fully autonomous from Disney's own distribution operations.

With a more stable budget, Miramax began moving beyond acquisitions and distribution and into film production. Until September 30, 2005, the company also operated the label Dimension Films, which was solely founded by Bob to specialize in teen, horror, and other genre films, and created the Scream and Scary Movie film franchises.[8] Harvey funded larger projects from up-and-coming directors, including Robert Rodriguez, Gus Van Sant, and Quentin Tarantino. Some of the films earned Oscars.[8]

In 1997, Miramax joined Peter Jackson as a primary financial backer in attempting to get the Lord of the Rings films produced. Disney disliked the cost of a two-parter, requesting that it be produced as a single film. Jackson and Saul Zaentz rejected Disney's request and looked for another studio or financier. Thus, Miramax sold the rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to New Line Cinema in August 1998 for about $12 million, which led The Lord of the Rings to be produced as a trilogy. Miramax retained a 5% stake in the films' gross and then gave 2.5% to the Weinsteins.[9]

Through Miramax, Harvey founded Talk magazine with Tina Brown in 1998 (it shut down in 2002), albeit without the approval of then-Disney chief Michael Eisner, which upset Eisner. Also that year, 30 former employees filed suit over unpaid overtime wages.[8]

By 2003, Miramax was less operative in the independent film market and became more of a mini-major as the company only acquired 3 films while producing Cold Mountain for $80 million. The Weinsteins claimed the company was profitable, but Walt Disney Company president Robert Iger indicated in June 2004 that they were not properly accounting for "account standard overhead, distribution fees, bonuses that we pay Harvey and Bob. Nor are they applying current accounting rules."[8]

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.[10] 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 The Weinstein Company (TWC) 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 had been head of Buena Vista International in the UK.[10] 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.[11] At the time, the company was criticized for delaying or withholding release of Asian films to which it acquired the U.S. distribution rights.[12] Previously, in 2003, the company was criticized for trying to bar retailers from legally exporting authentic DVDs of the films.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] The company merged its operations with The Walt Disney Studios on January 28, 2010, shutting down Miramax's separate New York and Los Angeles offices.[10][16]

Though Disney Studio Chairman Dick Cook was a staunch supporter of Miramax, the brand was less of a priority for CEO Bob Iger, whose strategy was to focus on Disney's branded mass entertainment that could be exploited across Disney's theme parks, television, and consumer products. Following Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in 2009, Cook was succeeded by Rich Ross.[17] As a result, Miramax was relegated to the status of distribution label within the Walt Disney Company.[18] The company confirmed that it was looking into 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".[19]

Other companies and Post-Disney ownership era (2010–2019)[edit]

Miramax logo used beginning in 2010, used since 2018 (with byline) as a print logo on posters

On December 3, 2010, Disney closed the sale of Miramax for US$663 million to Filmyard Holdings, an investment group and joint venture of Colony NorthStar, Tutor-Saliba Corporation, and Qatar Investment Authority. The sale included 700 film titles, books, development projects, and the "Miramax" name. Mike Lang, the former News Corporation business development executive who was selected as the CEO of Miramax, indicated that the company would focus on their existing library, though they would continue making original content.[20][21][22]

After the sale was closed, some films already developed at Miramax, including The Tempest and Gnomeo & Juliet, were eventually released by Disney under its Touchstone Pictures banner, and theatrical distribution of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and The Debt were shifted to FilmDistrict and Focus Features respectively.[23][24]

On December 16, 2013, Miramax entered into a deal with Harvey and Bob Weinstein's The Weinstein Company to develop and distribute select derivative works of films from the former studio. Sequels, television series, or stage productions of titles such as Rounders and Shakespeare in Love were among the projects said to be part of this agreement.[25][26][27]

On July 17, 2015, Qatar and Colony NorthStar put Miramax up for sale for an offer of $1 billion.[28][29][30] Harvey and Bob Weinstein had reportedly regained interest in reacquiring the studio via TWC in September.[31][32][33][34][35][36] On March 2, 2016, Miramax was sold to beIN Media Group, a spinoff of Al Jazeera Media Network (which formerly owned its namesake beIN Sports).[37][38][39]

On a July 21, 2016, interview, Harvey Weinstein stated that he was still interested in combining TWC's film library with Miramax's, after the acquisition of the latter by beIN.[40]

After Miramax's founder Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault in October 2017, Miramax became one of 60 parties bidding on The Weinstein Company on January 16, 2018.[41] On April 27, Miramax and Lantern Capital emerged as the strongest contenders to acquire TWC's assets. Ultimately, it was Lantern that acquired TWC's library.[42]

On June 7, 2019, beIN began the process of selling approximately 50% of Miramax in an effort to offer it for growth.[43] Lionsgate (which distributed Miramax's titles on home video), Spyglass Media Group (owners of the Weinstein Company library, inherited via their deal with Lantern) and Viacom (Paramount's parent company who re-merged with CBS Corporation on December 4, 2019, to form ViacomCBS) were seen as the leading contenders to acquire a stake in the company.[44] By August 19, 2019, Lionsgate and Viacom were the only contenders, as Spyglass Media Group dropped out of contention.[45] On September 11, 2019, it was announced Lionsgate had dropped their bid, making Viacom the only bidder for the stake in Miramax.[46] On November 8, 2019, Viacom exited the negotiations to acquire them.[47] After merging with CBS Corporation to become ViacomCBS, the combined firm resumed talks with Miramax.[48]

ViacomCBS/Paramount Global era (2019–present)[edit]

On December 20, 2019, ViacomCBS (now known as Paramount Global) announced it would acquire a 49% stake in Miramax for at least $375 million, with Paramount Pictures gaining exclusive worldwide distribution rights to its film and television library. Paramount Pictures and Miramax will also co-produce new content based on titles from the library.[49] The deal officially closed on April 3, 2020.[50]

On June 24, 2020, Miramax and ViacomCBS announced their first co-production, The Turkish Detective, a television series based on the Cetin Ikmen novels by Barbara Nadel.[51]

On October 2, 2023, it was announced that CEO Bill Block would be leaving the company that week following the end of his contract with them, starting his own production company, BlockFilm, later that month.[52][53] In January 2024, Jonathan Glickman was reported to be in talks to join Miramax as CEO, with his company Panoramic Media expected to be acquired by Miramax if talks were successful.[54] On April 2, 2024, Glickman was officially named Miramax's new CEO effective immediately. As part of the deal, Miramax also acquired certain film and TV projects from Glickman's company Panoramic Media.[55]

Divisions[edit]

Miramax Family & Animation[edit]

Miramax Family & Miramax Animation
Company typeDivision
IndustryAnimation
Motion pictures
Founded1991; 33 years ago (1991) (original)
March 18, 2019; 5 years ago (2019-03-18) (revival)
Defunct2006; 18 years ago (2006) (original)
ParentMiramax

Miramax Family & Miramax Animation (also known as Miramax Family Films) were the family divisions of Miramax Films; originally founded as one singular company in 1991. The label was quietly discontinued in 2006. On March 18, 2019, Miramax revived its family and animation divisions, with both being founded as separate divisions within the company.

Michael Lachance, who had previously developed projects at DreamWorks Animation and Sony Pictures Animation, was named the division's executive vice president.[56]

Filmography[edit]

Film series[edit]

Title Release date Notes
Hellraiser 1992–2005 based on the novella The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker; distribution under Dimension Films label
Children of the Corn 1993–2001 based on the short story of the same name by Stephen King; distribution under Dimension Films label
Three Colours 1993–1994 United States distribution only
The Crow 1994–2005 distribution under Dimension Films label
View Askewniverse 1994–2001; 2019 2019: co-production
Best of the Best 1995–1998 distribution under Dimension Films label
The Prophecy 1995–2005 distribution under Dimension Films label
Halloween 1995–2002; 2018–present 1995–2002: distribution under Dimension Films label
2018–present: co-production
From Dusk till Dawn 1996–2000 distribution under Dimension Films label
Police Story 1996–1999 United States distribution only under Dimension Films label
Jungledyret Hugo (the first two movies: Go Hugo Go (1993) and Hugo the Movie Star (1996) 1998 (produced) 2005 (released) United States distribution only
Scream 1996–2000 1996–2000: distribution under Dimension Films label
Operation Condor 1997 distribution under Dimension Films label
Mimic 1997–2003 distribution under Dimension Films label
Bounty Hunters 1997–2001 United States distribution only under Dimension Films label
Air Bud 1998–2003 United States distribution only under Dimension Films label; marketed under the Disney banner[a]
She's All That 1999; 2021
Asterix and Obelix 1999–2002 based on the comic book series of the same name by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo; Italy distribution only
Scary Movie 2000–2006 distribution under Dimension Films label
Dracula 2000–2005 distribution under Dimension Films label
Spy Kids 2001–2003 distribution under Dimension Films label
Bridget Jones 2001–present based on the novel series of the same name by Helen Fielding
2001: United States distribution only
2004, 2016 & 2025: co-production
Iron Monkey 2001–2002
Pokémon 2002–2005 based on the multimedia franchise of the same name by The Pokémon Company; United States distribution only
Bionicle 2003–2005 based on the toyline of the same name by The Lego Group
Kill Bill 2003–2004
Bad Santa 2003–2016 2003: United States distribution only under Dimension Films label
2016: co-production
Sin City
(also known as Frank Miller's Sin City)
2005–2014 based on the comic book series of the same name by Frank Miller
2005: distribution under Dimension Films label
2014: co-production

Films and TV shows distributed by Miramax Family and Miramax Animation are listed here:

Miramax Television[edit]

Miramax Television
Company typeDivision
IndustryTelevision production
Founded1987; 37 years ago (1987)
Headquarters,
Key people
Marc Helwig (EVP)
OwnerIndependent (1987–1993)
The Walt Disney Company (1993–2010)
Filmyard Holdings (2010–2016)
beIN Media Group (2016–present)
Paramount Global (2020–present)
ParentMiramax

Miramax Television is the television production division founded in 1987, assigned to producing television shows based on the existing Miramax film library and original concepts. Its projects include the following:

Title Years Network Notes
The World of David the Gnome 1987 Nickelodeon English dub only; co-production with CINAR for BRB Internacional
Wasteland 1999 ABC co-production with Outerbanks Entertainment
Clerks: The Animated Series 2000–2002 ABC (2000)
Comedy Central (2002)
co-production with View Askew Productions, Woltz International Pictures Corporation, Touchstone Television and Walt Disney Television Animation (uncredited); based on the film Clerks
Project Greenlight 2001–2015 HBO (2001–2003, 2015)
Bravo (2005)
co-production with Adaptive Studios, LivePlanet (seasons 1–3) and Pearl Street Films (season 4)
Glory Days 2002 The WB co-production with Dimension Television and Outerbanks Entertainment
Tokyo Pig 2002–2003 ABC Family English dub only; co-production with Buena Vista Sound Services
Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee 2003 Food Network co-production with Follow Productions
Project Runway 2004–2011 Bravo (2004–2008)
Lifetime (2009–2011)
seasons 1–9 only; co-production with Full Picture Productions, Heidi Klum Productions (seasons 2–9), Magical Elves Productions (seasons 2–9), The Weinstein Company Television (seasons 2–9) and Bunim/Murray Productions (seasons 6–9)
From Dusk till Dawn: The Series 2014–2016 El Rey Network co-production with Sugarcane Entertainment, FactoryMade Ventures, and Rodriguez International Pictures; based on the film From Dusk till Dawn
Crow's Blood 2017 international distribution[58]
Gone Baby Gone 2018 N/A co-production with 20th Century Fox Television; unaired TV pilot; based on the film Gone Baby Gone
Spy City 2020 Magenta TV
AMC+
co-production with Odeon Fiction; miniseries
Project Greenlight: A New Generation 2023–present Max co-production with Hoorae Media, 3 Arts Entertainment and Alfred Street Industries; revival of the original 2001 series[59]
The Gentlemen 2024–present Netflix co-production with Moonage Pictures; based on the film The Gentlemen[60]
Mimic TBA TBA based on the film Mimic[61]
The Henna Artist Netflix[62] co-production with Freebird Films; based on the book The Henna Artist[63]
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice TBA co-production with Happy Prince; based on the play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice[64]
Untitled Confessions of a Dangerous Mind series Apple TV+ co-production with Paramount Television Studios; based on the film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and the book of the same name[65]
The Maidens TBA co-production with Stone Village; based on the book The Maidens[66]
Bloom County Fox co-production with Fox Entertainment, Bento Box Entertainment, Spyglass Media Group and Project X Entertainment; based on the comic strip Bloom County[67]
The Turkish Detective Paramount+ co-production with Paramount Television International Studios; based on the novel The Turkish Detective[68]
Prêt-à-Porter BBC[69] based on the film Prêt-à-Porter[70]
The Gangs of New York TBA based on the book The Gangs of New York[71]
Chocolat co-production with Mediawan; based on the film Chocolat[72]
The Christie Affair co-production with The Gotham Group; based on the novel The Christie Affair[73]
The Immortals co-production with Mediawan; based on the novel The Immortals[74]
The Key Man based on the book The Key Man[75]
Untitled Halloween series co-production with Trancas International Films; based on the film Halloween[76]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ When Disney purchased Air Bud for an estimated $6 million for domestic rights and rights to sequels, the rights were through then-subsidiary Miramax Films, however sometime during development, the first installment was moved to the Walt Disney Pictures label when it released in 1997.[57]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Disney sells Miramax to investment group for $660m". The Guardian. July 30, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Weinstein, Bob (April 2003). "All Thanks to Max". Vanity Fair.
  4. ^ "Miramax Marries Movies and Music" (PDF). Billboard. February 28, 1982. p. 55. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  5. ^ "Chicago". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
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  72. ^ Goldbart, Max (November 29, 2022). "'Chocolat': Miramax TV & Mediawan Forging French-Language TV Series Adaptation Of Johnny Depp Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  73. ^ Panaligan, EJ (December 2, 2022). "Daisy Ridley to Star in Miramax TV's 'The Christie Affair,' Based on Agatha Christie's Disappearance (TV News Roundup)". Variety. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  74. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2023). "Miramax TV & Mediawan Ink Co-Production Deal, Add 'The Immortals' Adaptation To 'Chocolat' On Joint Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  75. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 14, 2023). "Miramax Television Sets Dev Patel to Star In 'The Key Man' As Company Ramps Up International Content". Deadline. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  76. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 14, 2023). "Miramax Lands 'Halloween' TV Rights In Broad Agreement With Trancas, Plots Cinematic Universe". Deadline Hollywood.

Further reading[edit]

  • Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind (Simon & Schuster, 2004)

External links[edit]