Miramax sees global picture

Studio sets B.O. record with 38 pic-slate

NEW YORK — Miramax Films’ overseas unit, Miramax Intl., said Thursday that it has set a record pace at the box office this year, racking up nearly $560 million from a 38-film slate in international territories.

The performance puts the division ahead of its tally of $508 million from 47 movies at the same time last year.

Amid ongoing contract talks with parent the Walt Disney Co., the Weinsteins have been aiming to boost the bottom line at their company, slashing costs and goosing profitability.

Mini-major said the bump came from rollouts including “Scary Movie 3,” “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Cold Mountain,” “Shall We Dance,” “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” “Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World” and “Hero.”

Unit still has holiday releases including Martin Scorsese’s Oscar contender “The Aviator” in the hopper. Another Oscar hopeful, “Finding Neverland,” has been released in the U.K., with other territories lined up to follow. Biopic, starring Johnny Depp as playwright J.M. Barrie, was named the year’s best film by the National Board of Review this month.

In a joint statement, Miramax co-toppers Bob and Harvey Weinstein said: “We are very proud of our superior international distribution, sales, marketing and publicity teams who have worked together with the Buena Vista Intl. distribution offices, our partners at TFM France and first-rate international territorial distributors to achieve this record-breaking performance.”

Int’l prexy hailed

Company chief operating officer Rick Sands chalked up a good deal of the brand’s success to Michael Williams-Jones, who was installed as president of Miramax Intl. earlier in the year.

“We attribute our successes to an outstanding slate of movies, coupled with the combined talents and passions of our unsung heroes — our inhouse distribution, sales, marketing and publicity teams,” said Williams-Jones. “However the market reshapes or rearranges itself, Miramax and Dimension movies will be out there competing aggressively.”

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