Disney and Miramax Agree to Part

31 March 2005

The turbulent marriage of the Walt Disney Company with US movie makers Bob and Harvey Weinstein is finally over.

The founders of Miramax Films, an independent film company bought by Disney in 1993 for around $80 million (€62m, £42m), are on their own again with a payoff thought to be around $130m.

The "long and arduous" settlement has resulted in the brothers having to leave behind the company name when they set up their new, go-it-alone enterprise in September.

Miramax, the brand behind some of Hollywood's best offerings of recent years, including Chicago, Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love, fell out with its partner over inflated budgets and the brothers' salaries. Their original mission had been to complement Disney studios' output with more sophisticated but cheaper movies.

The pair also had a volatile relationship with Disney's outgoing ceo Michael Eisner. Relations between the three boiled over last summer when Disney barred Miramax from releasing the controversial anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11.

Disney now plans to restructure Miramax, downsizing and streamlining it financially. The Weinsteins, on the other hand, have employed the services of investment bankers Goldman Sachs to raise as much as $1 billion to finance their new venture.

The brothers will not, however, completely sever ties with their former partner. They will complete Miramax films currently in production and potentially co-finance future releases.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff