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New mojo for mini-major

Disney reorients compass as Miramax handoff looms

As Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields recently demonstrated, Hollywood loves a good feud. And as the old Miramax team exits and the new team takes over, some in the film world were hoping for fireworks, especially after the very public wrangling last summer between Bob & Harvey Weinstein and Disney’s Michael Eisner.

Sorry to disappoint the throngs, but things are amicable. There won’t be any sudden elbows to the ribs as the two camps move in and out of the offices. In fact, they won’t be bumping into each other at all.

The logistics for the handover are quickly firming up, with Daniel Battsek officially named prexy of the new-incarnation Miramax Films last week and with both sides firming up key hires.

The nascent Weinstein Co. will soon hire two co-heads of production. The brothers are still in the process of interviewing job candidates.

Meanwhile, Miramax 2.0 will apparently steer a course that Disney film boss Dick Cook backs, like going after small-budget pics, hip concepts and fresh talent, some just out of film school.

The Mouse House-owned shingle won’t even occupy the Greenwich Street offices where the Weinsteins currently work.

Disney says it is seeking a new Gotham location for Miramax, likely near the SoHo building on Spring Street and 6th Ave. that currently houses the Miramax Books staff. (Miramax Books will remain a Disney label.)

Battsek takes over creative decisions, acquisitions, production, distribution, marketing and publicity for the new Miramax on Oct. 1 when the brothers officially hit the road.

Battsek, who is moving from the U.K. to Gotham, is said to be bringing with him Buena Vista Intl. colleague Kristin Jones, who’s shepherding Touchstone U.K.’s “The Hero,” with Battsek and Jason Reed. She will work as a production exec, though she won’t be a sole department head.

There won’t be much for Battsek and the Weinsteins to work out during the transitional phase, since the brothers will have largely cleaned out the Miramax pipeline, releasing 21 pics between Jan. 14 and Sept. 16.

But as the clock winds down on the Weinsteins’ stewardship of Miramax, the two camps will go head to head for the first time soon: Both are expected to be vying for acquisitions at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

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