Rushed release of Miramax films provides unhappy ending to Hollywood alliance.

After 12 tumultuous years, Walt Disney's relationship with Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded the Miramax film studio, is about to come to an end in a dreadful loss-making autumn.

Under its deal with the Weinsteins, the California media giant is liable for the marketing and distribution costs - and any potential losses - on a string of films that have been on Miramax's shelves for some time.

All in all, 11 films have been hanging around. And all but one are being rushed out ahead of the 30 September deadline when the Weinsteins depart.

Hollywood and Wall Street are braced for bad news from the Magic Kingdom. Disney has begun its programme of accelerated releases with The Great Raid, based on the real-life rescue operation of prisoners of war in 1945 in the Philippines. The film opened with lacklustre support earlier this month in America.

Two other films from the list have also hit the big screen. They are Secuestro Express, a tale of kidnap in Caracas, and The Warrior, directed by Britain's Asif Kapadia.

The three together have grossed less than $4m (2.2m), according to Box Office Mojo, the online service which tracks the performance of films. This is despite Disney spending a reported $20m on promoting The Great Raid alone. Douglas Mitchelson, an analyst at Deut- sche Bank, predicts it will have to spend over $100m to market all the Miramax films it has earmarked for imminent release.

Disney itself has admitted it will foot a hefty bill for the heavy programme of releases. Its chief financial officer, Thomas Staggs, said when the company released third-quarter results earlier this month that "the marketing and distribution expenses associated with these titles will impact this year's operating income in the fourth quarter".