Bob and Harvey where hard, crude, unforgiving hustlers who had a knack for finding talent, exploiting it and then winning oscars. Thats a very short synopsis and almost unfair to the creators of a sterling company that was feared, admired and hated in much of the film industry during the eighties and nineties. Coming from a record sales background the Weistein Bros moved to film where they saw a ever growing space for hard nose sales with smaller “indy” films. Video had become popular and film makers could access film stock with a couple of credit cards. Enter Tarintino, Soderberg, Smith and some young actors full of passion and talent all looking for a home and someone who would believe in their vision. Of coarse these are not the only filmmakers that came out of Miramax they just happen to be the most prolific and have always returned to their “roots” by making films with or for Bob and Harvey.
“Miramax wasn’t just a bad-boy clubhouse, it was a 20th century Olympus,” filmmaker Kevin Smith wrote to TheWrap. “Throw a can of Diet Coke and you hit a modern-day deity. And for one brief, shining moment, it was an age of magic and wonders.”
In my opinion the era ended with the sale to Disney in 1993. Although it gave them a huge bank account and overdraft it immediately marginalized the brothers and they moved to making “Oscar films” as opposed to just making great films that won Oscars. Theres a difference. This sale became a trend and soon all the major studios owned or opened an “Indy” devision. Too bad the trend has now turned around and all the Majors are closing the “indies”. I guess the wheel turns right.
“Miramax worked best when it was an independent company where every single film was nurtured by Harvey Weinstein,” said David Davis, managing partner of Santa Monica, California-based Arpeggio Partners, which advises movie industry investors.
Soon Bob and Harvey where having shouting matches with Disney CEO Michael Eisner and to no-ones surprise the brothers left Miramax in 2005 to open The Weinstein Company. Even now they struggle to make their studio work, as if someone stole their magic… By the time they had left, Miramax had 220 Oscar nominations for films including “Pulp Fiction,” “The Aviator” and “Life Is Beautiful.”
Miramax closing their doors is a sad day. It stood for so much and gave so many film makers the belief that they too could win an oscar if only they worked hard enough. Thats a big dream to have made it into everyday reality and its all thanks to two hard knocks with foul mouths.
If you want to know know more about the Sundance, Weinstein phenomenon then pick up Down and Dirty Pictures - its a great read!