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Miramax Film Corp.
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1979
Founder(s) Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein
Headquarters , USA
Industry Film production and distribution
Owner(s) Independent
The Walt Disney Company

Miramax Films was (and still is)[1] an art-house/independent film production company that both produced and distributed films including foreign films over its 31-year history. For its first 14 years the company was privately owned by its founders, Bob and Harvey Weinstein. In 1993 the company was acquired by the The Walt Disney Company which operated it as a division of the Disney Company after the founders left.

Founded in 1979 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein and headquartered in New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts, Miramax was a leading independent film motion picture distribution and production company before it was acquired by Disney in 1993. The Weinsteins operated Miramax with more creative and financial independence than any other division of Disney, until 2005 when they decided to leave the company and founded The Weinstein Company. Miramax Films was currently operated by Daniel Battsek who reported to Rich Ross, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.



Founded by the brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein in Buffalo, New York in 1979, the company was named by combining the first names of their parents Max and Miriam,[2] and was originally 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 US marketplace. The resulting film The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (US Version) 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 US sensibilities.

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

In addition to those successes, Miramax acquired and/or produced many films that did extraordinarily well financially. The company became one of the leaders of the independent film revolution of the 1990s. Miramax produced or distributed seven films with box office grosses totalling more than $100 million; its most successful title, Chicago, earned more than $300 million worldwide.[3]

The company was also exceptionally successful in securing Academy Award nominations for its releases and a large number of the nominations resulted in Oscar wins.

In 1992, Miramax began a deal with Paramount Pictures for VHS and TV distribution of certain Miramax releases. Paramount would also distribute theatrically certain releases that might have commercial appeal (such as Bob Roberts, though video rights to that film were owned by Live Entertainment - which is now Lions Gate Entertainment). Paramount still owns video rights to some of these films today, while TV distribution is now with Trifecta Entertainment & Media.[4]

In 1993 Miramax was purchased for $80 million by The Walt Disney Company.[2] 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 the acquisition by Disney, the Weinsteins started to have problems with Disney CEO, Michael Eisner, on creative and financial matters. Eisner was reluctant to give as much creative freedom and financial support for the Weinsteins, who over the years increased the budget for their productions. Disagreements between the two came to the point that negotiations to extend the contract with the Weinsteins in Miramax, were terrible.

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.[2] 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[2], 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[2], 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 now hold the rights to distribute Miramax films in Canada in 2008.

Shake Up and Sale

In 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.[5][6] In October 30, 2009, The Walt Disney Company 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.[7] The company has merged its operation with Walt Disney Studios in January 28, 2010 shutting down Miramax's separate New York and Los Angeles offices.[2][8]

Dick Cook, former Disney Studio Chairman wanted to keep Miramax[9] but resigned, with most likely new Disney Studio Chairman (Rich Ross) deciding on selling Miramax. Bob Iger said on a conference call that when questioned about possible Miramax sale, "We determined that continuing to invest in new Miramax movies wasn't necessarily a core strategy of ours"[10].

Several companies have indicated an interest in purchasing Miramax including Summit Entertainment and Qualia Capital, Amir Malin's investment fund. Bob and Harvey Weinstein have also taken interest in buying back Miramax. The New York Times reports that Miramax could go for about $700 million.[10][11][12][13]


Miramax has come under criticism for its editing, dubbing, and replacing the soundtracks of various foreign films it releases. One notable example is Iron Monkey, which though released subtitled, had its subtitles altered to remove the political context of the story, had scenes trimmed and changed for violence and pacing, and had the soundtrack changed, removing the famous Wong Fei Hung theme. Other films that they have altered in this way include Shaolin Soccer, Farewell My Concubine (theatrical release), The Thief and the Cobbler and Jet Li's Fist of Legend.

Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures details many of Weinstein's dealings with filmmakers.

Under the Weinsteins, Miramax had a history of buying the rights to Asian films, only to sit on them without releasing them for some years. One example of this is Hero, a 2002 Chinese martial arts film. It languished in Miramax's vaults for two years before it was salvaged with the intervention of Quentin Tarantino. And sometimes Miramax purchased films only to never release them. An example of this is Tears of the Black Tiger, a Thai film. After changing the ending of the film, Tears of the Black Tiger sat in Miramax's vaults for five years until its rights were purchased by Magnolia Pictures in 2006.

The "no cuts" policy was highlighted when Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein suggested editing Princess Mononoke to make it more marketable. In response, a Studio Ghibli producer sent an authentic katana with a simple message: "No cuts".

One reason for the delays and non-releases of films was an accounting scheme the Weinsteins used to shift potential money-losing films to future fiscal years and ensure they would receive annual bonuses from Disney,[14] while trying to bar retailers from legally exporting authentic DVDs of the films.[15]

As a result of the Weinsteins' actions, a number of Asian producers who sold their distribution rights to the company refuse to do so for their subsequent films.[citation needed]

Defenders of the company point out that prior to Miramax most of the films purchased by the company would have had little to no chance of achieving U.S. distribution other than by very small distributors with minimal marketing expertise and funds. They also state that the purpose of the company's aggressive re-editing technique was always to try help the films find a broader American audience than they might not otherwise find.

"I'm not cutting for fun", Harvey Weinstein said in an interview. "I'm cutting for the shit to work. All my life I served one master: the film. I love movies."[16]

Miramax has been criticized by many Christian groups for the obscene content of many of its films. Groups such as the American Family Association have organized boycotts of Miramax and former coorperate parent Disney for including offensive and explicit content in films such as Priest and Kids.

Miramax is also accused of ignoring their more artistic, less audience-friendly films, especially when directors refuse to re-cut them to make them less challenging. Dead Man, which director Jim Jarmusch refused to re-cut, got a very limited release and critics have accused the Weinsteins of burying the film. Tarantino, among other directors working with Miramax, have happily re-cut their films to the Weinsteins' liking.[17][18]

Miramax Family

Miramax Family (also known as Miramax Family Films) was the family division of Miramax Films created in 1991. Some films distributed by them are:

List of Miramax films

Further reading

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


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Miramax offices close, Disney says brand continues". Lowell Sun. Associated Press. 2010-01-29. 
  3. ^ Chicago (2002)
  4. ^ Miramax Deal On Distribution - New York Times
  5. ^ . story Disney to slash Miramax Films staff to 20, reduce releases to 3 a year
  6. ^
  7. ^ Daniel Battsek stepping down as President of Miramax
  8. ^ Waxman, Sharon (2010-01-27). "Miramax Dies: Rest in Peace". The Wrap, Inc.. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ "N.Y. Times: Disney looking to sell Miramax label, library". American City Business Journals, Inc.. 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Epstein, Edward Jay (2005-10-10). "The great illusionist". Slate. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  15. ^ Studio Warns Kung Fu Site
  16. ^ Mason, Ian Garrick (2004-10-11). "When Harvey met Mickey". New Statesman. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (2008). Dead Man. BFI Modern Classics. BFI. ISBN 0851708064. 

External links

Simple English

Miramax Films is a American motion picture distribution and production company. It was headquartered in New York, New York before being bought out by The Walt Disney Company.

It was created by the brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein in Buffalo, New York in 1979.[1] The name comes from combining the first names of their parents Max and Miriam.[1] The company was created to distribute independent films which the major movie studio did not think were worth distributing.

The company's first success came when the Weinsteins teamed up with British producer Martin Lewis. They got the US rights to two concert movies of benefit shows for human rights organization Amnesty International. The Weinsteins worked with Lewis to combine the two movies into one movie. The movie The Secret Policeman's Other Ball was a successful release for Miramax in the summer of 1982.

Among the company's most well known movies as distributors were The Crying Game, sex, lies, and videotape, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and Scandal. The company also made movies such as Pulp Fiction[1] and Shakespeare In Love

Miramax also produced many movies which made a lot of money. The company became one of the leaders of the independent film revolution of the 1990s. It produced or distributed seven movies that made more than $100 million at the box office. Its most successful movie, Chicago, earned more than $300 million.[2]

In 1993, The Walt Disney Company bought Miramax for $80 million.[1] Harvey and Bob Weinstein ran Miramax until they left the company on September 30, 2005. The Weinstein brothers ran Miramax separately of other Disney companies. However, Disney had the final say on what Miramax could release.

On March 30, 2005, Disney and the Weinsteins said that they would not renew their contract when their current one expired at the end of September 2005. Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group took control of Miramax, which will have a smaller annual production budget. The Weinsteins started a new movie production company titled The Weinstein Company and took the Dimension Movies label with them. The Miramax name stayed with the movie studio owned by Disney. It is currently run by Daniel Battsek.

Miramax also has a family films division, Miramax Family Films.

Miramax is one of the Big Ten movie studios.


Selected list of Miramax movies


  • The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982)
  • Playing for Keeps (1986) (produced by Miramax but distributed by Universal Pictures)
  • Yellow Pages (1988)


  • Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)
  • The Lemon Sisters (1990)
  • A Rage in Harlem (1991)
  • Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)
  • Bob Roberts (1992, with Paramount Pictures)
  • Into the West (1992)
  • Love Crimes (1992)
  • Sarafina (1992)
  • Reservoir Dogs (1992) (distributor)
  • Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (1993)
  • The Innocent (1993)
  • The Night We Never Met (1993)
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1993) (distributor)
  • Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  • Clerks. (1994)
  • Country Life (1994)
  • Exotica (1994)
  • Fresh (1994)
  • Loaded (1994)
  • Mother's Boys (1994)
  • The Crow (1994)
  • Prêt-à-Porter (1994)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)[1]
  • A Month by the Lake (1995)
  • A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)
  • Blue in the Face (1995)
  • Cry, The Beloved Country (1995)
  • Four Rooms (1995)
  • Fresa y Chocolate (1995)
  • Georgia (1995)
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
  • Kids (1995)
  • Lie Down with Dogs (1995)
  • Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
  • Muriel's Wedding (1995)
  • Priest (1995)
  • Restoration (1995)
  • The Crossing Guard (1995)
  • The Crude Oasis (1995)
  • The Glass Shield (1995)
  • The Road Killers (1995)
  • The Thief and the Cobbler (1995) (theatrically known as Arabian Knight) (distributor)
  • Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)
  • Two Bits (1995)
  • Unzipped (1995)
  • Zire Darakhatan Zeyton (1995)
  • Beautiful Girls (1996)
  • Basquiat (1996)
  • Brassed Off (1996)
  • Captives (1996)
  • Citizen Ruth (1996)
  • Cosi (1996)
  • Emma (1996)
  • Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
  • Trainspotting (1996)
  • Flirting with Disaster (1996)
  • From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
  • Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
  • Jane Eyre (1996)
  • Of Love and Shadows (1996)
  • The Crow: City of Angels (1996)
  • The English Patient (1996)
  • The Journey of August King (1996)
  • The Pallbearer (1996)
  • Unhook the Stars (1996)
  • Albino Alligator (1997)
  • Cop Land (1997)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)[1]
  • Jackie Brown (1997)
  • Mimic (1997)
  • The Substance of Fire (1997)
  • The Wings of the Dove (1997)
  • Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)
  • 54 (1998)
  • The Big One (1998) directed by Michael Moore
  • A Price Above Rubies (1998)
  • Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998) (distributor, theatrical version, released on home video by Disney)
  • Phantoms (1998)
  • Playing by Heart (1998)
  • Ride (1998)
  • Rounders (1998)
  • Senseless (1998)
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998, with Universal Pictures)
  • Since You've Been Gone (1998)
  • Sliding Doors (1998, with Paramount Pictures)
  • The Mighty (1998)
  • Velvet Goldmine (1998)
  • Wide Awake (1998)
  • An Ideal Husband (1999)
  • B. Monkey (1999)
  • Happy Texas (1999)
  • Holy Smoke! (1999)
  • Mansfield Park (1999)
  • Music of the Heart (1999)
  • My Life So Far (1999)
  • Princess Mononoke (1999) (English dub, distributor)
  • She's All That (1999)
  • The Cider House Rules (1999)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, with Paramount Pictures)


  • A Hard Day's Night (2000 theatrical reissue of 1964 movie)
  • Bounce (2000)
  • Committed (2000)
  • Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
  • Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
  • Malèna (2000)
  • Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)
  • The Yards (2000)
  • Bridget Jones's Diary (2001, with Universal Pictures)
  • Chocolat (2001)
  • Daddy and Them (2001)
  • Get Over It (2001)
  • Iris (2001)
  • Kate & Leopold (2001)
  • On the Line (2001)
  • The Shipping News (2001)
  • Tears of the Black Tiger (2001, never released, rights sold in 2006 to Magnolia Pictures)
  • 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002, with Universal Pictures)
  • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)
  • Cypher (2002)
  • Frida (2002)
  • Full Frontal (2002)
  • Gangs of New York (2002)
  • Naqoyqatsi (2002)
  • Pinocchio (2002) (English dub, distributor)
  • Pokémon 4Ever (2002) (English dub, distributor)
  • Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) (U.S. distributor)
  • Stolen Summer (2002)
  • Tadpole (2002)
  • The Hours (2002, with Paramount Pictures)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
  • The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina (2002) (distributor, direct-to-video)
  • Undisputed (2002)
  • Valentín (2002)
  • Waking Up in Reno (2002)
  • Bionicle: Mask of Light (2003)
  • Chicago (2003)
  • Cold Mountain (2003)
  • Duplex (2003)
  • Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003, with 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures)
  • Pokémon Heroes (2003) (English dub, distributor)
  • The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003)
  • The Human Stain (2003)
  • View from the Top (2003)
  • Deep Blue (2003, With BBC worldwide)
  • The Aviator (2004, co-production with Warner Bros.)
  • Kill Bill Volume 2 (2004)
  • Bionicle 2: Legends of Metru Nui (2004)
  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004, with Universal Pictures)
  • Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
  • Garden State (2004, with Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Hero (2002, released by Miramax in 2004)
  • Jersey Girl (2004)
  • My Baby's Daddy (2004)
  • Finding Neverland (2004)
  • Paper Clips (2004) (distributor)
  • Pokémon: Jirachi Wishmaker (2004) (English dub, US distributor, direct-to-video)
  • Shall We Dance? (2004)
  • Roll Bounce (2005)
  • Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows (2005)
  • Cinderella Man (2005, with Universal Pictures)
  • Deep Blue (2005) (distributor)
  • Derailed (2005, with The Weinstein Company)
  • Dracula III: Legacy (2005)
  • Hellraiser: Deader (2005)
  • Hostage (2005)
  • Kinky Boots (2005)
  • Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2005) (English dub, distributor, direct-to-video)
  • Proof (2005)
  • The Great Raid (2005)
  • Tsotsi (2005)
  • Underclassman (2005)
  • Hollywoodland (2006, with Focus Features)
  • Scary Movie 4 (2006, with Dimension Films)
  • The Queen (2006)
  • The Hoax (2006)
  • Breaking and Entering (2006, co-production with The Weinstein Company, distributed in US theaters by TWC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
  • The Lookout (2007) (co-production with Spyglass Entertainment)
  • Wacky Movie


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