Miramax Gets Downsized, Richard Linklater’s ‘Liars (A to E)’ Put On Hold
In a press release issued last week, Disney head, Rich Ross, announced plans for a total overhaul of the company, which has had a year plagued with high profile disappointments like Bolt, Bedtime Stories and Confessions of a Shopaholic that resulted in several executive layoffs. Ross, who, himself was recently promoted from overseeing The Disney Channel to replace president Dick Cook, said,
The Studio restructuring will embrace new possibilities and opportunities, and find innovative ways to provide quality entertainment that is readily available.”
Disney’s specialty studio, Miramax, has felt the most impact from the overhaul and the “restructuring” of the company, at first, seemed like the beginning stages of getting rid of it altogether. That turns out to not be the case just yet, but its output is being reduced from 6 to 8 films a year to the absurdly low number of 3. In addition to the lower number of films being released, its president Daniel Battsek was replaced and its New York offices were closed.
It appears that Richard Linklater‘s romantic comedy Liars (A to E) is the first casualty of Miramax’s reduced output. Even though Rebecca Hall (Vicky Christina Barcelona) and Kat Dennings (Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist) had been attached to star as friends who go on a road trip to retrieve lost items from their ex-boyfriends, Linklater recently told Movieline.com,
It’s no longer happening, unfortunately. It didn’t really work out. It’s tough.
The news of Miramax’s diminished capacity hasn’t exactly come as a huge surprise in a year that’s seen the closing of most of the major studio’s specialty divisions. The ones that have remained in business such as Focus, Summit and Overture, have done so by skewing away from indie and foreign films to more mainstream fare.
One of Overture’s recent releases, the Gerard Bulter/Jamie Foxx actioner Law Abiding Citizen, is a perfect example of the current trend. At the movie’s LA premiere, producer Mark Gill said,
It’s an anti-Jane Campion movie.
While that movie has proven to be a hit, the strategy of aiming for the mainstream has backfired for Miramax. Their recent release of Mike Judge‘s Extract, so far, has barely pulled in $10.8M.