×

Miramax's Battsek is Out: More Contraction in Specialty Films

Here's yet another piece of news in the ongoing decline of the movie studios' "specialty" film business: the head of Disney's Miramax Films is being pushed out of the company.

This isn't a huge surprise: earlier this month Disney laid off 70 percent of Miramax's employees and cut the number of movies it'll release to just two a year. This represents Disney (and the rest of Hollywood's) shift away from riskier Oscar-bait that targeted an adult audience. Instead the studios are focusing on big-budget "tentpole" films that are increasingly based on existing brands and franchises, hoping to attract the younger demographic that shows up en masse at the theater.

This is the latest in a long string of consolidation/elimination of the other studios' specialty divisions. When Time Warner consolidated its New Line into its Warner Brothers studio in 2008 it shut down Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse. Paramount Vantage was dramatically scaled down and consolidated into its parent studio in June 2008. Universal Studios' Focus Features is rumored to be the next specialty division headed for some major cuts, as the parent studio just underwent some major reorganization. Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox's specialty studio has fared better than some of the others thanks to hits like "Juno."

Here's the statement released today from Rich Ross, the newly appointed chairman of "The Walt Disney Studios.” With the change in direction at Miramax, we have reached a mutual agreement with Daniel Battsek that he will leave his post as president, effective January 2010. During his 18 years of service, he has brought some very prestigious and award-winning films to the Studio from Calendar Girls to The Queen to No Country for Old Men. We wish Daniel the very best on his future endeavors."

Miramax is shutting down its New York office and opening a small office on Disney's lot. Not only is It'll be a huge cultural shift to for the remaining few folks at Miramax to leave the labels long-time New York home. Miramax was founded by the Weinstein brothers in 1979 and acquired by Disney in 1993)Miramax's Battsek is Out: More contraction in Specialty Films

Here's yet another piece of news in the ongoing decline of the movie studios' "specialty" film business: the head of Disney's Miramax Films is being pushed out of the company. This isn't a huge surprise: earlier this month Disney laid off 70 percent of Miramax's employees and cut the number of movies it'll release to just two a year. This represents Disney (and the rest of Hollywood's) shift away from riskier Oscar-bait, that targeted an adult audience. Instead the studios are focusing on big-budget "tentpole" films that are increasingly based on existing brands and franchises, hoping to attract the younger demographic that shows up en masse at the theater.

This is the latest in a long string of consolidation/elimination of the other studios' specialty divisions. When Time Warner consolidated its New Line into its Warner Brothers studio in 2008 it shut down Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse. Paramount Vantage was dramatically scaled down and consolidated into its parent studio in June 2008. Universal Studios' Focus Features is rumored to be the next specialty division headed for some major cuts, as the parent studio just underwent some major reorganization. Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox's specialty studio has fared better than some of the others thanks to hits like "Juno."

Here's the statement released today from Rich Ross, the newly-appointed chairman of "The Walt Disney Studios:

"With the change in direction at Miramax, we have reached a mutual agreement with Daniel Battsek that he will leave his post as president, effective January 2010. During his 18 years of service, he has brought some very prestigious and award-winning films to the Studio from Calendar Girls to The Queen to No Country for Old Men. We wish Daniel the very best on his future endeavors."

Miramax is shutting down its New York office and opening a small office on Disney's lot. Not only is It'll be a huge cultural shift to for the remaining few folks at Miramax to leave the labels long-time New York home. Miramax was founded by the Weinstein brothers in 1979 and acquired by Disney in 1993)

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com