Miramax Film Corporation

Miramax Film Corporation


Mike Lang abruptly left his position as chief executive of Miramax after less than two years on the job. Given that Miramax doesn’t make movies anymore and only seeks to maximize its library, there must have been some serious personality clashes there. Lang said he will remain with Miramax as a consultant until a successor is found.

“The value of the Miramax film library and its iconic underlying brand is clear and the future is bright,” Richard Nanula, chairman of Miramax and a principal at Colony Capital, said in a statement.

Miramax’s chief financial officer, Steve Schoch, will serve as interim chief executive. But investors including Colony Capital, Ron Tutor and the investment arm of Qatar had already withdrawn the majority of their equity in a refinancing last year that added more than $500 million in debt. New distribution deals are expected to bring in $325 million in revenue over time.

Mike Lang was officially named CEO of Miramax, the new company formed by the Filmyard Holdings group in December, 2009, it was announced by Richard Nanula, who is now officially chairman of Miramax while remaining a principal at Colony Capital. Colony Capital and its founder Thomas Barrack were investors in the $663 million acquisition of Miramax from Disney which closed earlier this week, along with construction exec Ronald Tutor, the Qatar Holdings fund, actor Rob Lowe and others. “I have known and worked closely with Mike for almost 20 years and have always respected his talents,” said Nanula in a statement. “We are confident that he is the right person to lead Miramax in its next phase of growth.”

“I have always admired the Miramax library, which includes many respected titles and award-winning films,” said Lang, who will be based at headquarters in Santa Monica, California. “Based on the quality of these assets, I believe bringing new life to this library–by working with traditional and new partners–will be an exciting and unprecedented story of growth and innovation. I am honored by this opportunity, and I look forward to working with my partners as we build a new kind of media company.”

The new Miramax is not going to be making any movies, at least initially. However it is expected to staff up with sixty to eighty employees in the coming months to pursue deals to distribute the film library on multiple digital and online platforms, as well as through traditional home video and international sales opportunities.

Lang, who was 45 years old, consulted on the sale of Miramax to Filmyard after leaving his position as EVP, Business Development and Strategy at Fox Entertainment earlier this year. At Fox he oversaw strategic initiatives for the film studio, broadcast network, sports and cable channels and more. He is credited as playing a role in the acquisition of MySpace and creation of Hulu, as well as Fox’s mobile, digital and video game initiatives. Before joining Fox in 2004, Lang worked on various investments and was involved in strategic planning at Disney. He has an MBA from Harvard and a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital website Wednesday, Lang said, “Our goal really want to send a signal that we are a different company, not only about digital, but in being an innovative company.”

Michelle Williams at Angelika

Michelle Williams at Angelika

As the Miramax sale closed this fall, the Weinsteins were put in touch with Miramax’s new chief executive Mike Lang by Jim Wiatt, the former chief executive of talent agency William Morris who knows all three men.Miramax, which is newly owned by private equity company Colony Capital, investor Ron Tutor, and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, will have the right to co-finance the movies and own a 50% stake in the new movies produced by Weinstein Co., a person familiar with the agreement said. If Miramax declines to provide the funding, the company will receive 5% of the movies’ gross revenue.

The deal terms are similar to ones Weinstein Co. made with Disney for sequel rights to 16 movies from the Miramax library including “Scream” and “Spy Kids” as part of their settlement in 2005. Weinstein Co. will release “Scream 4” and “Spy Kids 4” next year.