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Disney Is Expected to Appoint Miramax Chief

Daniel Battsek, who runs the studio's British film operation, will be named soon, sources say.

June 28, 2005|Claudia Eller | Times Staff Writer

Walt Disney Co. is expected to soon name Daniel Battsek, who runs the British arm of its international movie operation, as the new head of Miramax Film Corp., three executives familiar with the situation said.

Battsek, who plans to relocate from London to New York, has been the favorite to take over the specialty film company from founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

In March it was announced that the Weinstein brothers would be leaving the Disney fold after a long, acrimonious relationship.

They sold Miramax to Disney 12 years ago and are being forced to leave behind the company they named after their parents, Miriam and Max.

The Weinsteins, who have already launched a new production company, are technically under contract to Disney until the end of September.

Under its settlement arrangement with the Weinsteins, Disney agreed not to announce Miramax's new management until July, the executives close to the situation said.

Disney declined to comment on Battsek's expected appointment.

Battsek would report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook.

Battsek, whose mandate would be to help reestablish Miramax as a cost-conscious specialty film label, has worked for Disney's Buena Vista International operation in London for more than a decade.

Battsek has overseen Disney and Miramax releases in Britain and Ireland, and handled such local British productions for Disney as "Calendar Girls" and "High Heels and Low Lifes."

Previously, Battsek worked for independent film company Palace Pictures, a producer of one of Miramax's early breakout hits, "The Crying Game."

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