NEW YORK — Miramax Films co-topper Harvey Weinstein was made a Commander of the British Empire Monday night in Manhattan, while the fiefdom he built from scratch with brother Bob continues to shift amid cutbacks and ongoing horn-locking with corporate parent the Walt Disney Co.
The newly anointed CBE showed off the kinds of financial force he can marshal for any future endeavor: The audience at the residence of British Consul-General Philip Thomas included attorney David Boies, Jim Dolan, Steve Rattner, John Sykes, Lorne Michaels, Comcast topper Brian Roberts, BAFTA East Coast vice chairman Freddie Hancock, J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler and top-ranking execs from Lehman Brothers, Thomas H. Lee Partners, the Blackstone Group and Triarc Co.
Back downtown at Miramax, it’s now all hands on deck as the company’s Oscar machine rolls into action, with the Weinsteins pitching in to personally build campaigns for such contenders as “Finding Neverland” and “The Aviator.”
The pushes come as Miramax slims down on staff and perks. But despite the sturm und drang, everyone is pitching in to get the films out, even as many staffers contemplate their next moves. As in years past, production people are lending a hand in dealing with talent and other efforts during campaigning. Staffers at “Aviator” co-producer Initial Entertainment are jumping into the fray with support as well.
Miramax has split domestic rights on “Aviator” with Warner Bros. and is taking point on the Martin Scorsese pic’s marketing plans. Warners has its own plate full with “Ocean’s Twelve,” “The Polar Express,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Alexander.”
Harvey Weinstein has been down this road before: When Los Angeles prexy and marketing whiz Mark Gill ankled just prior to Oscar season two years ago, Weinstein said he’d become “personally involved” in year-end projects “Gangs of New York,” “Frida” and “Chicago,” which worked wonders.
“When Bob and Harvey get behind a movie, they get behind it, and they love to have their backs against the wall,” said a former staffer. “They’ll get it done, if they have to get the security guard in the building to do posters.”