Tutor takeover delays 'Debt,' 'Dark'

Disney on Thursday officially pulled John Madden’s “The Debt” and Guillermo del Toro-produced “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” from its release calendar, leaving the two Miramax titles without a distributor.

It will be up to Filmyard Holdings, Miramax’s pending new owners, to find another way to get the films into theaters.

“The Debt,” starring Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington, was set to open Dec. 29. Drama-thriller about the hunt for a Nazi war criminal played at the Toronto Film Festival last month.

Toplining Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, “Afraid of the Dark” was to have opened Jan. 21. In addition to producing, del Toro co-wrote the film with Matthew Robbins.

When the Filmyard deal was announced in late July, Disney said it would handle distribution of a handful of completed Miramax pics that had yet to be released, an arrangement that could stay in place for a year after the sale is completed. Disney did not comment on the change in direction, and why it isn’t releasing “The Debt” and “Afraid of the Dark.”

Filmyard hasn’t announced any plans to rev up its own distrib operation. Filmyard, whose partners include Ron Tutor and Colony Capital, is expected to complete its acquisition of Miramax in mid-November.

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