CATEGORIES Movie News
Thursday marked the end of an important era in motion picture history, with Disney shuttering the New York and Los Angeles offices of Miramax Films and the division's president, Daniel Battsek, along with about 80 Miramax employees, departing.

The 31-year-old Miramax label will be retained by Disney and applied to about three movies a year going forward, according to studio officials.

But managed by Disney's main Burbank, Calif. management team -- and lacking any dedicated employees of its own -- the groundbreaking indie studio founded by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 1979 is essentially finished. Thursday marked the end of an important era in motion picture history, with Disney shuttering the New York and Los Angeles offices of Miramax Films and the division's president, Daniel Battsek, along with about 80 Miramax employees, departing.

The 31-year-old Miramax label will be retained by Disney and applied to about three movies a year going forward, according to studio officials.

But operated by Disney's management team in Burbank, California -- and lacking any dedicated employees of its own -- the groundbreaking indie studio founded by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 1979 is essentially finished.

Naming the studio after their parents, Max and Miriam Weinstein, the brothers built a powerful film brand from scratch, wheeling and dealing to get capital, bullying business partners, seducing top filmmakers and, of course, spending oodles of money on Oscar campaigns.

While the Weinsteins themselves have always been polarizing figures in Hollywood, there's no debate about the stellar quality of their library, which includes 'My Left Foot,' 'Reservoir Dogs,' 'The Piano,' 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Clerks,' 'sex, lies and videotape,' 'Shakespeare in Love,' 'Swingers,' 'Good Will Hunting' and 'The English Patient,' just to name a few films.

Countless films released by Miramax have received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and some, like 'The English Patient' in 1996, 'Shakespeare in Love' in 1998 and 'Chicago' in 2002, have even won.

"Miramax wasn't just a bad-boy clubhouse, it was a 20th century Olympus," filmmaker Kevin Smith told the Wrap. "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."

The Weinsteins sold their company to Disney in 1993 for $70 million. And for a while, they were able to operate rather autonomously out of New York.

However, as the label aggressively sought awards attention with lavish Oscar campaigns, and its movie budgets began to escalate, the Weinsteins' relationship with then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner deteriorated.


After a bitter parting of the ways with Eisner, the Weinsteins left Miramax in 2005 to start a new production outfit (yep, the Weinstein Company), and Miramax was left in the hands of Battsek, a longtime international sales executive for Disney.

Put on a much shorter budgetary leash then the Weinsteins ever were, Battsek was able to squeeze out some well-received films, including 'The Queen' and 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.'

In fact, just two years ago, Miramax co-produced, along with Paramount Vantage, Oscar best picture-winner "No Country for Old Men."

But Miramax had already began its descent. In 2007, the company pulled in $135.3 million in domestic ticket sales. By last year, that figure had dropped over 50 percent to $65.8 million.

Tell us: What is your favorite Miramax movie?