Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the inimitable co-chairmen of Miramax Films, have extended their contracts with The Walt Disney Co for another seven years, scotching any speculation that they might be lured away from the company they co-founded in 1979.
"It is our pleasure to continue our association with Disney," said the brothers in a statement. "Since we began this relationship in 1993, we've grown from an independent film company into a fully fledged media company. We couldn't have accomplished this without the unique combination of autonomy and backing from Disney, as Michael [Eisner, Disney's chairman and CEO] has been such a tremendous supporter of our vision and given us the ability to run our own show. We look forward to working with Peter [the recently appointed chairman of Disney Studios], who is a great ally. Everyone talks about corporate "synergy", and we think this relationship shows how well it can really work."
Miramax was bought by Disney for an estimated $80m in 1993 after winning Oscars and powerhouse box office for independent pictures such as The Crying Game, My Left Foot and Cinema Paradiso. Since the acquisition, Miramax has expanded with the Dimension Films label (specialising in thriller, science fiction and action movies), the creation of Talk magazine last year and publishing label Talk Miramax Books.
"Harvey and Bob Weinstein are creative geniuses," said Eisner in the statement. "Their love of film is matched by their deep understanding of the film-making process. The result has been an amazing variety of original and high-quality content for our studios. They continue to be at the forefront of the independent film movement and are second to none at discovering and developing talented young actors, directors and writers. We look forward to continuing to work with these dynamic leaders of the entertainment industry, as they add to their incredible body of work."
Whereas Disney has never won a Best Picture Academy Award, Miramax has won two in the last five years - The English Patient in 1996 and Shakespeare In Love in 1998.