Walt Disney Company announced on Friday (October 2) it was restructuring Miramax in a move that will cut the number of films the specialty division puts out annually from the current level of six to eight down to around three.

The diminished output will include acquisitions. Job losses will inevitably follow and it is understood that 55 positions will be eliminated, reducing the level to approximately 20.

Daniel Battsek will continue to serve as president, overseeing all aspects of creative, development, production and business and legal affairs out of New York.

Remaining staff and operations will be absorbed by The Walt Disney Studios (TWDS), which will handle certain marketing, distribution, operations and administrative support functions from its Burbank headquarters.

“Disney has a first-rate marketing and distribution team operating globally,” TWDS president Alan Bergman said. “This restructuring maximises operating efficiencies and provides significant cost savings while allowing Miramax to focus on its greatest strength; the creation of high-quality entertainment.”

Meanwhile an announcement is expected soon on the replacement for Disney chairman Dick Cook, who departed abruptly from the post two weeks ago without explanation.

Disney Channels worldwide president Rich Ross is widely believed to be the man who will replace Cook.

Miramax’ Clive Owen drama The Boys Are Backlaunched in six theatres on September 25 and to date has grossed a little under $70,000 heading into its second weekend. The next release is scheduled to be the comedy Everybody’s Fine starring Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore on December 4.