Inside Move: Divorce settlement near

Oscar finish for M'max

NEW YORK — Way back in early July, with headline hysteria over Harvey Weinstein’s likely exit from the Disney fold, the New York Post declared the mini-major’s co-topper would be out the door that very week.

Eight months later, of course, Harvey and brother Bob are still co-heading Miramax. But almost every week since July, rumors have burbled throughout showbiz circles about various schemes that haven’t gone down — from Scott Rudin running the house that Harvey and Bob built to the brothers running a rival studio. Meanwhile, the talks have slogged on … and on … but began making significant headway thanks to Dick Cook’s taking the lead for the studio. (One insider close to the situation said Cook’s coming in finally made the negotiations “movie people talking to movie people.”)

Now the deal does seem destined to wrap this month, possibly coinciding with the Oscars. But some sources said the drama could take even longer; a high-ranking Disney exec said the studio feels no rush to hammer out a deal.

Regardless, any pact essentially guarantees an ongoing relationship between the two parties (Daily Variety, Feb. 10). Sources have said the Weinsteins might help market pics ranging from popcorn fare like “Sin City” to high-end dramas such as “Proof.”

It’s also clear that staff and budgets would be slashed — by as much as half — when Disney takes control of the company and reduces its traditionally free-ranging slate of productions and acquisitions to a single-digit number a year.

If the talks do indeed conclude at week’s end — with Miramax’s “The Aviator” and “Finding Neverland” leading a year of mostly highlights — it could finally be a fitting one for the Weinsteins and Disney, which have locked Mouse ears for so many months.

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