Disney's Indie Distributor Miramax Officially Closes its Doors
After operating for over 31 years, Miramax has finally shut down, and its New York and Los Angeles offices will both be closed. Another casualty of this economy? Or just another casualty of the always-changing world of motion pictures? Ever since Mike Judge's Extract bombed last year, Miramax has been on the verge of closing down. And now with Rich Ross running Disney, that studio, which has owned Miramax for 17 years, has finally put the last nail in its coffin. For those that don't know, the distributor was originally founded in 1979 by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who broke off due to infighting in 2005 to start their own company.
In its early days, Miramax distributed films like The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies & Videotape, The English Patient, Shakespeare In Love, and The Talented Mr Ripley, and was also the home of Kevin Smith's early films, starting with Clerks in 1994. Disney acquired the distributor in 1993 and it was doing well until the 2000s. New Miramax films that are still to be released, including Last Night, The Debt, and The Tempest, will be "shelved, to gather dust, or win a tepid release," according to The Wrap. The studio tried to make a comeback in recent years with films like The Queen and No Country for Old Men, but to no success.
Miramax has quite a history and will be remembered. The Wrap has a good wrap-up looking back at their 31 years in existence. And because we're still at Sundance, I'll also suggest reading Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film, which chronicles the early days of Miramax and its big acquisitions at Sundance, since the studio is responsible for introducing Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino to this world (you can buy the book on Amazon). It'll be very sad to see Miramax shut down, however, this may make room for smarter and better indie distributors to strive in this industry.
"I'm feeling very nostalgic right now," Harvey Weinstein said. "I know the movies made on my and my brother Bob's watch will live on as well as the fantastic films made under the direction of Daniel Battsek. Miramax has some brilliant people working within the organization and I know they will go on to do great things in the industry." I think the best way to end this is with Kevin Smith's quote from his response in The Wrap as well. "I'm crushed to see it pass into history, because I owe everything I have to Miramax. Without them, I'd still be a New Jersey convenience store register jockey. In practice, not just in my head."