For a long time, I’ve been pretty pissed at Miramax for the way they treated Asian films (constantly pushing back release dates, releasing films in heavily altered forms, etc.). I’ve always chalked it up to ineptitude. But it turns out that Harvey Weinstein was quite the clever devil. By purchasing one “art” film after another, he solidified his reputation as an indie cinema mogul. However, that’s where the phantom economics kicked in.
By using a loophole in his contract with Disney, Weinstein was able to shift release schedules around in order to keep films with hefty pricetags from counting against Miramax’s budget. Which ensured Weinstein would receive a nice hefty bonus at the end of the year, but also ensured that countless films disappeared into limbo, such as Hero, Shaolin Soccer, and Tears of the Black Tiger. For a detailed account of the sordid details, check out this Slate article.
So much for being a champion of indie film. Bastard. Hopefully, the foreign directors that he screwed will have learned their lesson, and the new Weinstein Company will find themselves with very little to release.