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Indie-Film Pioneer Miramax Closed

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Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM

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Miramax Films, the studio that made indie films the darling of Hollywood in the 1990s, closed down Thursday. About 80 people were expected to lose jobs at the Burbank-based subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.

While indie was looked upon as an industry savior in the 1990s, and Miramax films such as Pulp Fiction and The English Patient proved the genre's viability, it became a nowhere game in the 00s as comic-book blockbusters and cookie-cutter franchises dominated the box office.

Disney bought the company from Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 1993. They had started the enterprise in 1979 as a distribution company and production company in New York -- outside the mainstream sphere of Hollywood. (They now run the Weinstein Company).

It was the studio of Clerks and Sex, Lies and Videotape, and it helped give rise to a revived circuit of art-house theaters and independent film festivals across the nation.

Harvey Weinstein's gruff, ball-busting style was renowned in Hollywood and was even mirrored by a studio head named "Harvey" on the HBO series Entourage.

The U.K.'s Guardian writes Thursday that, "During its heyday, Miramax was regarded as arguably the industry's most respected and influential production company. But in recent years its output has been downscaled by Disney, and its demise was predicted long before today's closure of its offices in LA."

The paper reports that six films from the studio are finished and ready for release.

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