Though long expected, Disney announced Friday that it will scale back Miramax.
The larger studio will now handle “certain marketing, distribution, operations and administrative support functions from its Burbank headquarters,” Disney said.
That translates to an almost 75% reduction in staff to just 20 remaining execs. A series of meetings this week and next will lay out who stays and who goes, but Disney won’t name names for now. Some of the early exits are expected to come from the production and development side. Production prexy Keri Putnam and acquisitions veep Peter Lawson are among the rumored first execs to ankle. Marketing and distribution also are expected to shed many staffers.
Miramax prexy Daniel Battsek will stay put in New York, where he’ll oversee the remaining Miramax slate, including dramedy “Everybody’s Fine” (set for a Dec. 4 release) and John Madden’s Mossad thriller “The Debt.”
Miramax had already started morphing from an acquisitions-heavy mandate to more inhouse production and co-production — with a distinct turn toward genre fare. Mike Judge workplace comedy “Extract” is one example. The label’s upcoming pics, including Jennifer Aniston-Jason Bateman comedy “The Baster” and thriller “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” are more evidence of the trend.
Among the Miramax pics headed into production is romantic comedy “Liars (A to E),” produced by Scott Rudin and helmed by Richard Linklater. But with as few as three films reported to go out under the banner this coming year, who knows what will remain on the Miramax release slate.
Some observers see the Miramax “restructuring” as merely a preamble to a complete elimination of the division.