When the independent film company sold to Disney a week ago for a reported $60-65 million, it got a cash infusion to help it co-produce and creatively shape films. Disney got an entre into niche markets it could not reach through its own films. Both may have gotten more than they bargained for in the match.
As with their films, the two could not be more divergent in terms of advertising and marketing. "Disney's spending $8-10 million to market its average movie," said Miramax co-chairman Bob Weinstein. "Sometimes $8-10 million is our yearly marketing budget for all our films, combined."
Along with the difference in size, Miramax runs its advertising and marketing with a style that contrasts sharply with Disney. Under the terms of the deal, the company is to retain its autonomy, but sources predict that Miramax will have to make changes if it's going to co-exist happily with Disney.
One source said that now, Miramax will have to follow more rules. He called Miramax's successful style "shoot from the hip," saying the company often picks up movies at the last minute and forms ad campaigns in days. "Disney goes by the book," he said.
"Our marketing style is more publicity driven than anything else," Weinstein said. The Crying Game made $60 million without the benefit of a major ad blitz, for example. The film opened in N.Y. and L.A. on limited screens, with onesheets and a trailer that started in art houses. Miramax screened the film heavily. After its Oscar nominations, it stepped up advertising and rolled the film out to 700 screens. Weinstein and his co-chair brother Harvey called reporters themselves, asking them not to reveal the plot's twist.
That hands-on informality contrasts with the Disney bureaucratic maze. You're not likely to find Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg making media calls. He tends to let heavy TV advertising and trailer time do the talking.
Weinstein did say that Miramax media buying could be handled through Western International Media/L.A., which buys some $100 million in Disney media. That too, sources said, would require more disciplined strategy from Miramax. For now though, Belmir Media/L.A. remains Miramax's buying firm of record, according to Miramax marketing vp Gerry Rich.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)