Miramax wants to work more closely with parent company Disney -- and has appointed an exec to make it happen.
Gotham distrib is giving exec veep of biz affairs Michael Luisi an expanded job that will put him in charge of developing partnerships with other divisions of the Mouse House, such as ESPN and publishing division Hyperion.
"We want to make sure the profile of Miramax is kept as high as possible within the (Disney) studio," Miramax topper Daniel Battsek said.
Officially, Luisi will take on the role of exec veep of business affairs and operations, a title that encompasses a range of projects with the studio and other Disney divisions. Among other things, Luisi will seek out with sister units some co-acquisitions, product tie-ins and joint marketing campaigns for Miramax films.
Until now, Miramax has made a smattering of such deals, releasing soccer pic "Once in a Lifetime" with ESPN and pacting with Hyperion to put out tie-ins for some Miramax movies.
But Luisi's appointment will ensure these deals happen in a more systematic way, company said.
Move comes as Disney's studio division is itself seeking more cooperation with other parts of the conglom, making movies like the ride-based "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, which derive from and offer benefits to nonstudio properties.
In his new role, Luisi also will seek strategic partnerships with non-Disney companies in both the U.S. and U.K., where Battsek previously was managing director of Buena Vista Intl.
Also as part of Luisi's new role, Miramax will look to solidify its brand recognition. Even though the slate is relatively young, Luisi will develop campaigns and relationships to convey awareness of the particular types of movies the distrib releases.
"People see the brand and it conjures up a certain image of the movies they're going to see," Luisi said. "Some of it was Harvey and Bob, but there was also a lot of goodwill built up in the Miramax brand."
So far, new slate has a prestigious, somewhat Anglophilic bent; among Miramax's big fall releases are the Hanif Kureishi-penned "Venus," starring Peter O'Toole, and Stephen Frears' royals drama "The Queen," which opens the New York Film Festival next week.
Luisi, one of a number of Miramax employees who worked under the previous regime of Bob and Harvey Weinstein, also will oversee all administrative duties for the company. He'll continue working on acquisitions; exec was instrumental in negotiating for foreign-language Oscar pic "Tsotsi" as well as Sundance pickup "The Night Listener." He's also been a key player on a number of financing and distribution deals.