Miramax

weinstein

Back when brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein created a company that combined their parents Miriam and Max’s names into a portmanteau and started distributing independent films (stuff like concert documentaries and horror movies) in the late 70s, not many people could have predicted what a juggernaut of the art film world Miramax Films would eventually become. Somewhere around the mid 80s, Miramax, under the lead of the Weinsteins, started putting out releases like The Thin Blue Line and Sex, Lies, and Videotape though, and after that it was off to the races. By the time the mid 90s rolled around, not only was Miramax probably the leading producer and distributor of arthouse and indie films in the world, it was also an awards-generating machine whose statue-grubbing campaigns rivaled anything the big studios were doing in terms of money spent and aggressiveness. Whether you see what the Weinsteins accomplished at Miramax in the 90s as simple capitalist greed, or as the most effective promotion of experimental and interesting cinematic art that’s ever been accomplished, it’s hard to argue that their releases and promotional tactics didn’t play a large part in creating the indie film boom we saw during that decade—which was a trend that brought us a ton of great films as well as created an entire generation of new film geeks. Once the Weinsteins were forced out of their company in 2005 by the Disney overlords who had bought it more than a decade earlier though, Miramax’s ability to generate […]

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Hollywood

All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in September 2011, Ashe Cantrell pulls back the curtain on the Hollywood conspiracy machine… You may already be a film industry cynic. Maybe you think Hollywood is a barren wasteland, devoid of creativity and originality. Maybe you’re sick of seeing talented people get ignored and vapid hacks get splashed all over the trades. Maybe you’re tired of 3D everything and having to re-buy your movies every five to ten years. I’m not here to dissuade you of any of that. Hell no, I’m here to make it worse. Get ready, because this is some of the rottenest shit of which the film industry is capable. These are the things so terrible that Hollywood has to cover them up, lest God see their sin and smite them accordingly (and keep various government entities and lawyers off their backs, of course). If you still had any kind thoughts toward Hollywood, I suggest you prepare yourself for crushing disappointment. But first, I’d like to give a very huge shout out and thank you to writers C. Coville and Maxwell Yezpitelok for their help on this article. You guys are great! And now back to the shit storm, already in progress:

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Some kids at a summer camp pull a prank that ends up having deadly consequences. But there’s a twist. The victim of the gag gone awry doesn’t actually die, he lives on as a deformed monster and one day returns to the camp where he goes about exacting brutal revenge on a group of horny, party obsessed teenagers. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so, but that’s not important. No matter how many of these Friday the 13th clones come out, they’re still all pretty entertaining in a cheesy way. And The Burning is definitely the cream of the crop when it comes to the pretenders, being just a notch below the genre milestones like Friday the 13th and Halloween, and certainly being better than their sequels. The killer here is Cropsy, a drunken and despised camp janitor who gets burned alive when some kids try to freak him out by putting a flaming skull in his bunk. His weapon of choice is a pair of gardening shears, which he uses to chop and slash tender young flesh. He’s silent, he’s dressed in black, and he kind of looks like a charred version of Sloth from The Goonies.

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After a summer that’s already seen a Bad Teacher and some Horrible Bosses, I have started to sense that a new trend might be forming in Hollywood. Movies about awful people seem to be in, so that means we’re going to be seeing some remakes and sequels of past successes that have had less than likable protagonists. What does that mean for us in concrete terms? Thankfully, not a sequel to Richard Linklater’s awful Bad News Bears remake, but instead a sequel to Terry Zwigoff’s much more enjoyable Bad Santa. 24 Frames is reporting that Dimension and Miramax are teaming up to conceive some sort of sequel to the relatively successful, Billy Bob Thornton starring, 2003 film. And actually, they’re so taken with the idea of a Bad Santa sequel they’ve hired two different writers to pen scripts for them. Both are youngsters in the business who have recently sold their first scripts, and both have been told that they aren’t the only person writing on this project.

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Culture Warrior

Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column chronicling all that is good and true(ish) in the world. But enough gay banter, its author caught the new trailer for The Muppets this evening — it’s attached to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — and it was adorable. Not Pirates, that wasn’t great, the Muppets trailer. Speaking of Muppets, here’s something sad… 21 years ago today, Jim Henson passed away. Our friends over at /Film are remembering him by posting a wonderful documentary called The World of Jim Henson. It’s worth your time, as you might imagine.

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If you thought we were meta enough with our list of best editorials, you were wrong. You were also wrong about that pub quiz question you missed last night but kept claiming, “the wording was confusing.” That’s okay. Soothe your second place loss to the “Long Beach Pub All Stars” by digging in deep to this list of lists. What criteria did we use to pick them? Simple. The key was finding those lists which acted as a catalyst for discussion, for reverie, for passion, and for self-reflection. The subjects might seem ridiculous, but there’s nothing like looking back on the year and seeing where movies took our minds. Time to get meta and do our part to bring about that ETEWAF Patton Oswalt keeps talking about.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, the always energetic Scott Weinberg drops by to drop a metric load of sea salt onto our naturally cut fries. We take a short detour to Superlativeville where Cole becomes the mayor in a heated run-off election, discuss the most heart-warming horror films of the year, and find time to politely yell differing opinions about The Fighter. Plus, we find time to review Rabbit Hole and Tron: Legacy. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Kevin Smith

We reported earlier in the day that Miramax was partnering with The Weinstein Company to create a slew of sequels from the movies that it already owns. It beats original ideas, that’s for sure. Now, director Kevin Smith has commented on the development with a level head: “If someone was going to exploit the library for sequels, remakes, TV, I’d rather it be the devil I know. Nice to know there’s a home for Clerks III if I ever wanted to make it, but hope it doesn’t become a home for a Clerks-anything if I’m not involved. Either way, I doubt my shit is even something they wanna re-do/remake. [Miramax owns] Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. But then it’s further complicated by the Jay & Silent Bob of it all. They don’t own Jay & Silent Bob; I do. They own Strike Back, but they can’t make any flick that’d include Jay & Silent Bob (even a Strike Back sequel) without my permission/license.” He then went on to give the best possible synopsis for a Jersey Girl sequel that could ever exist:

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It was sort of heartbreaking earlier in the year when The Weinstein Company failed to purchase Miramax back. It would have been a homecoming of sorts for both companies, and it promised a return to form for Miramax after struggling through the latter part of the 2000s with fewer titles (and far less edge). The two companies have announced the next best thing – a long-term partnership. Unfortunately, that partnership is built upon producing and releasing a blight on the cinematic community. The two companies plan on releasing sequels to long-forgotten titles. Unnecessary sequels are planned for Bad Santa, Rounders, and Shakespeare in Love. There’s something harmless about seeing Billy Bob Thornton back in the Santa suit, but do they expect to nab Matt Damon and Ed Norton back? Do they plan on getting Gwyneth Paltrow back into drag? Those aren’t necessary components, but without those main actor ties, the sequels – coming a decade late – would be In Name Only sequels. The worst case scenario is Miramax becoming the National Lampoon of indie companies.

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard any movement on this, but horror and Del Toro fans should rejoice with the news that Miramax’s remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has gotten a release date of its very own. And, unlike every superhero property out there, it’s a release that’s within the next 8 months. Mark your calendar and be ready to ring in the new year with some strange visitors that live in your basement.

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We don’t come to mourn Miramax, but to bury you in great films to add to your rental queue.

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Pour one out for one of our favorite studios as it finally sees the end. R.I.P Miramax – 1979 – 2010.

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Welcome to Print to Projector, where we feign literacy in order to suggest what we’d like to see slapped onto the big screen. This week, we look at a high school mystery of epic proportions.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we laugh and cry about the state of independent filmmaking while eating leftover Halloween candy.

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With just a week to go, Miramax is (gasp) actually marketing a new Mike Judge movie. It’s like it’s a real movie! Hitting theaters near you and everything!

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tellnoone_1

Despite the obvious negativity conveyed in perhaps the worst headline of all time (see above), I actually don’t feel one way or the other about Miramax busting out an English-language version of Tell No One. As long as there are French subtitles.

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Kiss My Ass, Harvey and Bob!

There was a time when Harvey and Bob Weinstein were the heroes of American cinema. Now, we are seeing that these guys are just big douchebags, like so many other people in the business.

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From the novel by Cormac McCarthy, the Coens have concocted a lurid and unremitting thriller that will undoubtedly leave the viewer with both chills and some food for thought long after it’s over.

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The spectacular failure that such a promising movie became leads me to wonder if cinema itself is dying.

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