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The king of 90s indie film is dead.
January 28, 2010 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Miramax Films (named after founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein's parents Miriam and Max) has been closed. The company was founded in 1979, but found massive success in the 90s with films like The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, Clerks, and The English Patient, and many others. Owned by Disney, the production company still has six movies unreleased. More at The Wrap.
posted by zardoz (47 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by emilyd22222 at 6:44 PM on January 28, 2010


God dammit. Stop killing my adolescence.

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posted by khaibit at 6:46 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somewhat related: Harvey Weinstein to Errol Morris: you're boring
posted by gwint at 6:46 PM on January 28, 2010


Sucks for me; I had The Weinstein Company in the dead pool.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:46 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not dead. It's just for sale. Summit are interested and Bob and Harv are telling people they want it back. The name is worth about $30m and the library about $400-500m. Disney never felt entirely comfortable with it, mostly because its edginess conflicted with the Disney brand and Oren found it hard to greenlight anything (my view anyway).

The problem is that they won't sell the name and the library separately. The ideal solution would be for Bob and Harv to take the name and (say) Summit the library. I think we'd all like to see Miramax back making real movies. Bob and Harv seemed to lose their mojo the moment they let go of it, perhaps because it was named after their parents.
posted by unSane at 6:49 PM on January 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


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posted by Joe Beese at 6:51 PM on January 28, 2010


I really hate the 10s so far you guys
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on January 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


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posted by njbradburn at 7:03 PM on January 28, 2010


It's almost as if a person died.
posted by swift at 7:07 PM on January 28, 2010


The "king of 90s indie film" died when it was sold to Disney.
posted by birdherder at 7:12 PM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Harvey Weinstein is on a short list of folks I'd enjoy seeing slowly get run over by a steamroller. Feet first.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:17 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh no there won't be another indie film made ever again now because that isn't a profitable niche market at all and even if it were nobody would capitalize on it
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:17 PM on January 28, 2010


The "king of 90s indie film" died when it was sold to Disney.

Correct, and there's actually a chance it might revive it B & H get it back. For all his incredible faults Big H is a force of nature. For some reason TWC has never felt like a real company despite having had some terrific people working for it. Miramax still has a ton of positive associations both in the industry and outside it: how many other film labels can you think of (apart from Disney) that have such a clear brand proposition?
posted by unSane at 7:18 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn, I was really looking forward to the Julie Taymor/Helen Mirren version of the Tempest. I hope they find a way to release it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:19 PM on January 28, 2010


by the way if you would like to follow this story as it breaks, the only place to go is Nikke Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily, which is where everyone else in Hollywood is following it:

http://www.deadline.com/?s=miramax
posted by unSane at 7:21 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sadly Miramax's predilection towards middlebrow faux-"indie" is still going strong in Htown.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 7:24 PM on January 28, 2010


Miramax was never really an indie label. It was always a mini-major that bought up indie films (and then often left them on the shelf or otherwise destroyed them). As a film-maker, selling your indie film to Miramax (or indeed TWC) was always a huge gamble... so many films languished on the shelves for years, or never got a release, or were butchered in some way by H. But on the other hand H has always had an absolutely unerring sense of what wouldn't work. The old saying that no-one ever got fired for saying 'no' in Hollywood is absolutely true, and true for a reason, and H just took that one step further by saying 'no' even to things he'd bought.
posted by unSane at 7:29 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've long admired the Miramax logo.
posted by darth_tedious at 7:38 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Miramax was always guilty of taking excellent foreign films and re-making them for western audiences, and most times poorly at that.
posted by bwg at 7:46 PM on January 28, 2010


You know, I'd say blame them loosing their edge per convintional wisdom and blame that, but TBH looking at their output the good to bad ratio seems pretty much the same throughout.
posted by Artw at 7:51 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Disney could fuck up a baked potato.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:58 PM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


But on the other hand H has always had an absolutely unerring sense of what wouldn't work. The old saying that no-one ever got fired for saying 'no' in Hollywood is absolutely true, and true for a reason, and H just took that one step further by saying 'no' even to things he'd bought.

How do you explain Nine?
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:28 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gee, now who is going to buy the rights to great-sounding foreign films and then bury them in the vault until the inferior Hollywood remake gets made? Who's going to fuck with the editing of said foreign films?
posted by goatdog at 8:31 PM on January 28, 2010


How do you explain Nine?

I struggle.
posted by unSane at 8:37 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


God dammit. Stop killing my adolescence.

Why do you want your adolescence kept alive? Can't it reside in a pleasant place, to be visited? It's not like you want Pulp Fiction re-hashes every 5 years (or every year). Things change, grow, and die. Anyway, you can't be nostalgic for something if it's always with you.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:38 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, there goes a big part of my teenage awakening to cinema with ambition.
posted by smoke at 8:38 PM on January 28, 2010


No one can explain Nine. No one.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM on January 28, 2010


Miramax was always guilty of taking excellent foreign films and re-making them for western audiences, and most times poorly at that.

Really? Miramax remakes of foreign films... hmm... Shall We Dance?, some egregious De Niro comedy, and a planned remake of Tell No One that is not even in production yet. This does not really seem an unwieldy list for a company that has been making movies for thirty years. I must be overlooking dozens, then. What movies were you thinking of?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:15 PM on January 28, 2010


I suspect that's more of a reference to this sort of thing.

TBH I'm seeing some stuff there that might be a bit annoying, but no great crimes against humanity.
posted by Artw at 9:22 PM on January 28, 2010


What movies were you thinking of?

One off the top of my head: Miramax bought My Wife Is A Gangster for $1.1m.

That film doesn't need a remake, ever. It's hilarious in Korean.
posted by bwg at 9:43 PM on January 28, 2010


What movies were you thinking of?

They butchered the American release of Human Traffic, removing some of the best scenes in the film and redubbing lines throughout to make the movie less British.
posted by empath at 10:00 PM on January 28, 2010


A movie studio made some bad movies?! THE OUTRAGE
posted by Brocktoon at 10:36 PM on January 28, 2010


One off the top of my head: Miramax bought My Wife Is A Gangster for $1.1m.

That film doesn't need a remake, ever. It's hilarious in Korean.


True enough, and I thought Tell No One worked fine in French. Still, this is two crappy remakes and two more remakes not actually, you know, produced or anything. Maybe I lack in film snob fury, but on balance, I still think even a single No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood balances the scales.

Hollywood has made a hundred pointless, inferior remakes of great movies. To single out Miramax and not Twentieth Century Fox or Warner Brothers or Columbia Tristar seems... weird.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:00 AM on January 29, 2010


A Disney spokeswoman called to protest that Miramax is not 'dead.' "Miramax will consoldiate its operations within Walt Disney Studios, and will be releasing a smaller number of films than in previous years. But it will continue to operate within the Walt Disney Studios," she said.

I, for one, look forward to the Tarantino movie starring Miley Cyrus.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:23 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wasn't it dead after Disney crowded out the Weinstiens?
posted by djduckie at 6:11 AM on January 29, 2010


I, for one, look forward to the Tarantino movie starring Miley Cyrus.

Plum Friction.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:34 AM on January 29, 2010


James Berardinelli, writing last November:
The fuel driving the engine was the public's desire to see "alternative" fare - movies that didn't resemble the increasingly formulaic drivel playing in multiplexes. The '90s represented a time of great fortunes for makers, viewers, and distributors of independent cinema. Even the Oscars were swayed. There are conspiracy theorists who believe the major studios bought the indie companies as a way to kill them off and regain their stranglehold on the box office, but there's little hard evidence to back that up. Disney, for example, purchased Miramax not because it wanted to kill Miramax but because it wanted a piece of the pie. For many years, Miramax was able to continue functioning effectively with minimal corporate influence. Disney only began a more hands-on approach as the tide of red ink rose. It was like that across the board. Corporate-owned indie distributors were allowed to buy, sell, and release as they saw fit until they were no longer making money. That's when the parents stepped in. And, as we all know, responsible parents always ruin the party.

What led to the collapse of the independent market? No single cause bears sole responsibility; it was more of a perfect storm of issues. I can think of three major contributing factors: (1) changing viewer tastes, (2) home theaters becoming ubiquitous, and (3) a decline in the quality of product. I'll take a look at each of these.

Just as viewers in the '90s were looking for alternatives to big studio pictures, so viewers in the 2000s began looking back toward the comfort of the banal and familiar. Independent films required more thought and investment than many viewers were willing to impart....
posted by russilwvong at 7:43 AM on January 29, 2010


dances_with_sneetches : I, for one, look forward to the Tarantino movie starring Miley Cyrus.

Isn't that the one where she is playing someone pretending to be someone else and you're never really sure what is real and what is set up, or who you can trust is telling the truth?

Hopefully they leave in the scene where she dances around for a while and then cuts off someone's ear with a straight razor.
posted by quin at 9:17 AM on January 29, 2010


I hate Billy Ray Cyrus more now than I did in 1992.
posted by mikelieman at 10:58 AM on January 29, 2010


I hate Billy Ray Cyrus more now than I did in 1992.

Dammit, just seeing his name causes his stupid song to get stuck in my head.
posted by octothorpe at 11:22 AM on January 29, 2010


"Once they made "She's All That", everything went to hell."
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:51 AM on January 29, 2010


Plum Friction.

Sounds like some weird porn. I'd stick with "Plum Fiction," about a (pre)teen rockstar / detective / normal girl, hunting down the truth of the Glowing Box of Merchâ„¢, left behind by the gods of rock themselves, the Jonas Brothers! What's inside? Who knows! But you can get your own Glowing Box of Merchâ„¢ at any Disney Store and make your own rock star/detective story, with approved Disney props!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dammit, just seeing his name causes his stupid song to get stuck in my head.

Which? The Achey Breaky Heart song?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:38 PM on January 29, 2010


OK, looking over Artw's Wiki link to the Miramax output I can see a lot of really good films in there. Certainly, it's a record to be proud of and I think the Weinsteins should definitely consider buying back the name and going back to their filmmaking/producing/distributing roots.

On the other hand, I was working at Lego when Miramax released the Bionicle movies and for the shady, scarce-like-Beanie-Babies Bionicle product tie-ins alone they are going to have to make some really, really awesome movies in the future to even begin to even things out.
posted by librarylis at 11:24 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


which emotional response is this supposed to elicit in order for me to appear hip? should i be upset, kind of upset, or meh?
posted by chlorus at 1:47 AM on January 30, 2010


librarylis ...and all the terrible Hellraiser sequels.

I have such sights to show you... of shit!
posted by Artw at 1:49 AM on January 30, 2010


Hating Miramax for watering down movies to appeal to a wider market is like hating Obama for watering down legislation in order to get it passed.

The hate is well founded, but unnecessary and pointless.

May I also suggest there is a hefty amount of confirmation bias when it comes to love of "indie" movies. Most of us have never seen the many indie movies that truly suck. We love the indie movies we know, and most of us only know them because they were good enough to reach escape velocity and leave the gravity well of indie anonymity and obscurity.

Movies are like restaurants. Great restaurants are really, really good. But McDonald's exists for some very good reasons. Doesn't make it any better - I am just sayin'.
posted by Xoebe at 6:45 AM on January 30, 2010


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