It sprang to life in 1979 as the brainchild of bullish movie producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, and was named after their parents, but after a slow death from thousands of cuts, Miramax was officially closed today by Disney.
During its early years, the Weinsteins scrappily kept the ship afloat, shoved boundaries and helped bring the world the likes of Sex, Lies And Videotape, Clerks, The Piano, Reservoir Dogs, The Crying Game and The English Patient.
Rumours of the Weinsteins’ bullying tactics and hard demeanor were rife, but they certainly seemed to have a keen eye for talent and an understanding of how to channel that into success.
Though it was bought for $70 million by Disney in 1993, the brothers continued to run Miramax with an enviable level of creative control, and pushed their already legendary Oscar-hunting style to new heights with the expanded funding offered by the Mouse House. Among the successes as winners or nominees were Shakespeare In Love, Chicago and The Talented Mr Ripley.
But money was also a constant problem, and the Weinsteins began to clash with Michael Eisner. In 2005, Bob and Harvey left the company, forced to let go of the Miramax named and formed The Weinstein Company, which currently struggles with financing issues.
“Miramax wasn’t just a bad-boy clubhouse, it was a 20th century Olympus: throw a can of Diet Coke and you hit a modern-day deity,” recalls Kevin Smith at The Wrap. “And for one brief, shining moment, it was an age of magic and wonders. 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.”
“I’m feeling very nostalgic right now,” Harvey tells the site. “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.”
All that remains now is to think of the children – along with 80 people losing their jobs in New York and LA, the six movies still under the banner, including The Tempest and The Debt, face an uncertain future.
Miramax, thenÖ Gone, but not forgotten.