Disney does want to sell Miramax--but only at the right price. If the studio doesn't get what it's looking for, it will hang on to the library. After all, Disney boasts the smallest library of the major studios. And new studio chief Rich Ross has said that he is proceeding with plans to release the outstanding Miramax titles, including Julie Taymor's The Tempest, which is not for sale and is one of two Helen Mirren Miramax vehicles; the other is John Madden's The Debt, co-starring Sam Worthington. Also on the block is the Jennifer Anniston baby-baster comedy The Switch, which is currently set for August 20 release.
It's likely that Disney is going through the motions of an exclusive negotiation with financeers Ron Tutor and the beleaguered David Bergstein (who is in bankruptcy court, leading to Hollywood guild opposition to his buying the company), because the studio wants to force up the price. So it's not surprising that the Weinsteins are circling back to make another go at their old library. The Weinsteins' last negotiation broke down not just over reducing its $625 million bid to around $500 million (backed by Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies plus Colbeck Capital Management and Fortress Investment Group) -- but how the library would be managed by The Weinstein Co., which has its own financial issues. (In related Weinstein news, Harvey is far from popular in China, where he has finally gotten China Film to approve the release of the long-delayed Shanghai; its director called the exec "a cheater" last week. UPDATE: Ex-Variety critic Derek Elley writes a positive review. )
And the billionaire Gores brothers, who are sitting on plenty of cash and also have on their side as an advisor brother Sam, head of the talent agency Paradigm, could raise their bid as well. Or they may represent the best deal that Disney can get.
[Photo of Harvey Weinstein by Getty Images]