As Oscars loom, Miramax releases winning formula

LOS ANGELES: Miramax, perhaps Hollywood’s most adept player of the publicity game, has unleashed its annual assault on Oscar.

LOS ANGELES: Miramax, perhaps Hollywood’s most adept player of the publicity game, has unleashed its annual assault on Oscar.

LOS ANGELES: Miramax, perhaps Hollywood’s most adept player of the

publicity game, has unleashed its annual assault on Oscar.



Marcy Granata, the studio’s president of publicity and corporate

relations, said the company has begun to develop strategies similar to

those that made Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love big winners on

behalf of The Cider House Rules, The Talented Mr. Ripley (a

co-production with Paramount) and Holy Smoke.



The studio scored a major PR coup in getting an astonishingly

sympathetic multi-page cover story on Ripley in the Dec. 12 New York

Times Magazine.



Miramax was so confident in the movie’s star power (Matt Damon, Gwyneth

Paltrow, Cate Blanchett) and lineage (it is directed by The English

Patient director Anthony Minghella and is adapted from the Patricia

Highsmith novel), that it made the unusual decision to screen a rough

cut of the film to key press.



’You never like to compromise a filmmaker by showing a film before it’s

finished, but we felt strongly that we needed to do it to have the right

positioning,’ said Granata.



While some attributed Miramax’s initial success to fortuitous timing and

luck, the company’s Oscar campaigns are as well-calculated and cunning

as anything within the realm of PR.



The studio typically holds the release of films that are likely to

garner kudos from critics until late December, when it opens them on a

limited number of screens in New York and Los Angeles. The studio then

builds the screen count in January and February, ensuring strong

national press and making their films a must-see for voting Academy

members.



Granata said rough-cut screenings made films such as Patient and

Shakespeare critical favorites and allowed the company to base marketing

campaigns on the raves.



’We intentionally keep the December screen count low, because the big

studios release all of their holiday films everywhere and a small movie

can get lost,’ Granata said.



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