Miramax was a major part in the rise of the indie films in the late-80s, early-90s. It’s difficult not to note the irony of the closing of Miramax coming at the end of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Sundance became a hot spot for the buying of the potential “next big thing” in the indie film world. Keep in mind, this was back when a film could be truly independent and yet founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein (the name was a tribute to their parents, Miriam and Max), arguably the last of the movie moguls, could push artists like Kevin Smith and Steven Soderbergh and get their work into the mainstream. Also, they could call Errol Morris boring and threaten to resolve the situation with an Errol Morris impersonator. But that day passed long ago and while the success of Sundance lives on, Miramax, the scrappy studio bought buy Disney in 1993 and abandoned by the Weinsteins in 2005, is dead. The Wrap reports that the New York and Los Angeles offices are closed and eighty people are now out of work. The six movies they have awaiting distribution such as Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, and Last Night starring Sam Worthington and Keira Knightley, will see a very limited release at best and sit on the shelf forever at worst.
Hit the jump for more on Miramax’s passing.
I don’t have a great big history lesson of Miramax but their place in Hollywood history was well-earned despite the controversy it managed to gather under the Weinstein’s tenure. Sometimes their films launched careers, sometimes their films won Oscars, and sometimes they ripped a filmmaker’s movie to shreds. I can’t do a eulogy justice so I encourage you to read Sharon Waxman’s. For a more in-depth (and very juicy) account of Miramax’s history in its heyday, check out Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures.