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Movies in Limbo During Distribution Fall-Out: The Debt, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Haywire

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 13, 2010 at 4:59AM

Miramax is no more. And I challenge you to name the specialty division's new owner. For $660 million, Disney sold the Tiffany label built and abandoned by the Weinsteins--that once represented class, style and Oscar contenders--to Filmyard Holdings, a consortium led by financeer Ron Tutor and partners including Colony Capitol and the beleaguered David Bergstein. And Disney decided finally not to release two Miramax films still on its schedule, John Madden's The Debt, a Mossad thriller starring Helen Mirren, and Guillermo del Toro's production of rookie Troy Nixey's R-rated scare-fest Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, which was well-reviewed by the LAT.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Miramax is no more. And I challenge you to name the specialty division's new owner. For $660 million, Disney sold the Tiffany label built and abandoned by the Weinsteins--that once represented class, style and Oscar contenders--to Filmyard Holdings, a consortium led by financeer Ron Tutor and partners including Colony Capitol and the beleaguered David Bergstein. And Disney decided finally not to release two Miramax films still on its schedule, John Madden's The Debt, a Mossad thriller starring Helen Mirren, and Guillermo del Toro's production of rookie Troy Nixey's R-rated scare-fest Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, which was well-reviewed by the LAT.

Who will release the films now is open to speculation as Filmyard Holdings isn't set up to do so, as yet. Indie distribs are only now starting to sniff out the situation. Here's Variety.

Also caught in a release quagmire is Steven Soderbergh's Haywire, which was financed by Relativity Media but acquired for North American release by Lionsgate. Neither entity has yet seen the film as Soderbergh rushes to complete it. Relativity did buy back Season of the Witch (January 7) from Lionsgate, as well as college party flick Kids in America, starring Anna Faris, and Neil Burger's smart-drug thriller The Dark Fields, starring Bradley Cooper, to feed through its new distribution company, run by ex-Overture staffers. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Relativity would buy Haywire back, but that conversation is premature, I am told.

Certainly Oscar speculation about a qualifying run for Haywire (fed by an erroneous AMC listing for an L.A./N.Y. run) looks dubious at best. The movie is a gritty spy thriller written by Lem Dobbs (The Limey) and starring fighter Gina Carano as a black ops soldier on a revenge mission, with a great supporting cast including Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, Mathieu Kassovitz and Bill Paxton. Someone who saw the movie wrote me: "Haywire is pretty fine. Very much like John Huston in his Kremlin Letter/Mackintosh Man period." McGregor is playing in essence Erik Prince, added my informant, who also admired David Holmes' "way cool" score.

Here's the Don't Be Afraid of the Dark trailer:

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Independents, Studios, Video, Indies, Steven Soderbergh, Guillermo Del Toro, Horror , Disney , Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.