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Miramax Films (1979)

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Miramax Films is an American entertainment company known for distributing independent and foreign films. 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 Walt Disney Company.

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 The Walt Disney Company 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 was sold by Disney to Filmyard Holdings in 2010, ending Disney's involvement with the studio for the first time in 17 years.

  Biography  

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, 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 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, Flirting with Disaster, 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 boom 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.

The company was also exceptionally successful in securing Academy Award nominations for its releases, many of which 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.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Miramax Films", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.