In 1979, Miramax Films was started by Bob Weinstein and his disgraced brother Harvey. The company was named by combining the names of their parents: Miriam, for their mother, and Max, for their dad. In 1987, they went full throttle as far as producing/distributing movies are concerned. In 1992, Bob created a subsidiary of Miramax called Dimension Films. In 1993, Miramax, along with Dimension, was purchased by Disney, though they still licensed home video rights to Live Entertainment (which had already been distributing select Miramax titles, beginning with Hostile Takeover, on videocassette) until they formed a new home video division specifically to release new Miramax product in late 1994.
On March 29, 2005, however, the Weinstein brothers decided to leave both Disney and Miramax, taking the Dimension label with them (the split was consummated on September 30 that same year), and in October 2005, they made another film company called "The Weinstein Company". In January 2010, its offices were shut down in New York and Los Angeles and moved operations to Burbank, where Disney is based. The move caused 70 people to lose their jobs and 10 people to keep running the label. Disney also cut releases each year from 6 to just 3. Dick Cook, former Disney Studio Chairman wanted to keep Miramax but resigned, with his successor (Rich Ross) deciding on selling Miramax. Bob Iger confirmed this on a conference call when questioned about a possible Miramax sale.
On December 3, 2010, The Walt Disney Company finalized the sale of Miramax Films to Filmyard Holdings, LLC, a joint venture between Colony Capital, Tutor-Saliba Corporation, and Qatar Investment Authority. On January 22, 2013, Ron Tutor sold his stake in Miramax to Qatar Investment Authority. On March 2, 2016, the studio was sold to the beIN Media Group, a spin-off of the Al-Jazeera Media Network's sports assets. Currently, domestic video distribution rights are with Lionsgate Home Entertainment, while international home media rights are with StudioCanal. In December 2019, ViacomCBS acquired a 49% stake in Miramax, which puts its film library under the ownership of Paramount Pictures.
1st Logo (November 1, 1980-November 28, 1987)
Nickname: "Filmstrip M"
Logo: On a black background, we see a filmstrip, made into a letter "M". The text "MIRAMAX FILMS" is next to the "M" with "in association with" above.
Variant: On some films, such as Crossover Dreams, Ghost Fever, and The Quest, the logo is a simple textual graphic reading "A MIRAMAX FILMS Release" in a plain non-serif font.
Music/Sounds: Silent, or the music from any given soundtrack.
Music/Sounds Variant: On some prints of David the Gnome, the last note of the Cinar logo is played.
Availability: Very rare. It was seen on their limited output of this era such as Rockshow and The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, among others. The English-language print of David the Gnome also had this logo when it aired on Nickelodeon and TLC in the U.S., Family Channel in Canada, and across several other English-speaking territories. However, it is not preserved on DVDs of the show, but it is intact on the U.S. Family Home Entertainment and UK Video Collection VHS releases.
Editor's Note: None.
2nd Logo (March 27, 1987-December 11, 1998)
Nickname: "The Banner of Boredom"
Logo: On a black background, we see the text "MIRAMAX" in the Gill Sans Ultra Bold font. Below it is "FILMS", stretched to fit the width of "MIRAMAX", with a line on top and on the bottom of it.
Music/Sounds: None or the theme of the movie or trailer.
Availability: Rare. It's found mainly on trailers for some Miramax features and films such as The Unbelievable Truth, My Left Foot (VHS only) and Blue in the Face. It also makes appearances on Clerks and the 2002 restoration of A Hard Day's Night (1964). It also makes a surprise appearance at the start of Serendipity.
Editor's Note: None.
3rd Logo (September 11, 1987-October 29, 1999, 2002)
Nicknames: "The M", "The Big M", "Flashing M", "The Miramax M", "The Blue M"
Logo: A blue "M" in the same font as before zooms out to the left of the screen. It scrolls to the right, revealing "MIRAMA" in gold, and when it gets to the end, it disappears in a flash of light, revealing an "X". The word "FILMS" with its usual lines fades in below. A large "M" in black with a glowing blue corona surrounding it zooms out and borders the logo.
- For a number of years until Disney acquired the company, the word "presents", in script, would appear under the logo, depending on the variant.
- For releases outside of the United States only, the word "FILMS" was replaced with "INTERNATIONAL".
- On at least one occasion, the Roadshow Television logo transitioned into the international variant by zooming out with the "M".
- On some films, such as Wings of the Dove, the "FILMS" text is omitted.
- On some widescreen versions of the logo, the top and bottom edges of the "Big M" touch the black borders, or are cut off.
- Sometimes, the logo fades out early while the rest of the music plays.
- Rarely, the text would be silver.
- On Ready to Wear, when the "M" zooms out, the entire logo zooms out even further.
FX/SFX: The zooming out of the "M", the glowing letters, the flash, and the "Big M".
Music/Sounds: A calm synth fanfare with a "new age" feel to it. Some films have the opening theme of the film; otherwise, it is silent.
- On Pulp Fiction, the last two notes of the fanfare were cut off.
- On films such as Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, the double pitched music from the "Family Films" variant is heard.
Availability: Used to be common, but due to chronic plastering with both 4th and 5th logos, now it's uncommon, bordering on rare.
- Examples with this are recent releases of Pulp Fiction and Sling Blade. This logo first appeared on I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, and made its last appearance at the end of Music of the Heart (which uses the next logo below at the beginning).
- The international variant is only seen on releases outside of the US, such as Australian prints of the Scream films, and UK prints of the Jackie Chan film Thunderbolt. This version is intact on the US DVD of Farewell My Concubine, the Japanese Blu-Ray of The Talented Mr Ripley, and an Australian DVD of Emma.
- The "presents" variant appears on the R1 DVDs of Strictly Ballroom, Kolya, the Live Entertainment releases of The Crying Game, the VHS releases of The Grifters (but not on the Canadian Cineplex Odeon VHS, where it's skipped entirely), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, the Canadian VHS release of Prospero's Books, and the Canadian Seville Pictures DVD of Breaking the Rules (VUDU prints use MCEG instead, though with Miramax's jingle retained, oddly), among others.
- The version that fades out early can be seen on Il Postino (The Postman) and Everest.
- Don't expect to see this logo on Bob Roberts. Despite the print logo appearing on posters and trailers, only the 1990 Paramount Pictures logo is used on-screen.
- It was also originally seen on U.S. theatrical prints of Freddie as F.R.O.7 and Tom and Jerry: The Movie, but the home video releases show no evidence, though in the case of the former, it's an alternate cut. Strangely, this can be seen on The Crow: City of Angels, but Dimension distributed the film. It was also spotted on the 1999 HBO DVD of My Left Foot, and is preserved on the Anchor Bay DVDs of Strapless and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. It is also seen on early U.S. prints of Princess Mononoke while later prints use the next logo and the 2017 DVD uses the GKIDS logo. It was also seen on the Canadian VHS releases of The Girl in a Swing and The Miracle, despite the fact that Millimeter and Prestige distributed those two respective films to U.S. theaters. It can also be found on the US Buena Vista/Lionsgate Blu-Rays of Sling Blade, Chasing Amy, Life is Beautiful, the Alliance Blu-Ray releases of The English Patent, Good Will Hunting, and the Echo Bridge Blu-Ray of Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.
- This may have been seen on theatrical prints of The Long Walk Home, but VHS releases skip the logo (despite its presence on the box).
- This also makes a surprise appearance on the US dub of Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra instead of the next logo, and makes a very strange appearance on an Italian HDTV airing of The Brothers Grimm (instead of the international variant of the next logo).
Editor's Note: One of the more iconic movie logos of the '90s. This logo utilizes an effective use of cel animation.
4th Logo (December 11, 1998-November 28, 2008)
Nicknames: "The Buildings", "Lights/Lites in the Big City", "Manhattan Skyline", "The City", "Miramax Skyline"
Logo: We zoom down a river, and pan up to see the skyline of Manhattan, New York, at sundown. As the sun sets, the lights in the building windows begin to turn on, just like in real life. As we zoom in closer to the buildings, several lights begin forming the print Miramax Films logo, simply in white (no glowy effects like last time). The city skyline fades to black as the Miramax Films logo forms, piece by piece, while zooming towards the center of the screen. The end result is similar to the 2nd logo.
Trivia: If you look hard enough, you may possibly see the World Trade Center. This was animated long before the original World Trade Center was destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. On recent films shot on digital, the right tower is removed and the left one is placed to the edge of the city skyline.
- From 1998 until 2004, the logo was shot on 35mm film. In the logo's final years from 2005-2008, it is shot on digital.
- When the logo debuted and during the logo's first official year, 1999, the words "20TH ANNIVERSARY" appear above.
- There is a prototype variant of the "20TH ANNIVERSARY" logo where the top text is in orange or yellow, depending on the film quality.
- Yet another variant of the "20TH ANNIVERSARY" version exists. On a couple of films released in 1999, the anniversary text is smaller.
- For releases outside the United States, the word "FILMS" was replaced with "INTERNATIONAL". There is an anniversary variant of this version also.
- There exists a 1.78:1 open-matte version where the landscape is zoomed out much farther back. This version is seen on the Miramax DVD release of Three Colors: Blue, and on some films released between 2007 and 2008 such as The Queen.
FX/SFX: The CGI effects are nothing short of perfect.
Music/Sounds: The logo is usually silent, or has the opening theme of the film playing over it. Although some films, such as Music of the Heart, have a pleasant orchestrated piece with a few instruments in the selection.
- On early films with this logo such as Children of Heaven, and pre-1998 films such as The Harmonists and Mouth to Mouth, it uses the last logo's theme!
- On the some older HDTV airings and the UK StudioCanal Blu-Ray of Shaolin Soccer, it uses the shortened theme from the next logo, possibly due to a botched plaster job.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on releases from 1998 to 2008 and was the norm for plastering the previous logo, but is replaced with the next logo on most newer prints of their film library.
- This logo first appeared on Shakespeare in Love, and made its final theatrical appearance on The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Gangs of New York (2002) does not have this logo at all.
- In an interesting occurrence, when Confessions of a Dangerous Mind airs on Starz/Encore, the standard-definition version retains this logo, but the high-definition showing features the next logo below instead.
- The "International" version is seen on the German Concorde (as well as a Brazilian) Blu-Ray release of The Brothers Grimm (2005) It's surprisingly preserved on the Criterion Blu-ray and DVD of Naqoyqatsi on the Qatsi trilogy set. VHS tapes and DVDs of movies released during this logo's span are almost always guaranteed to have this logo, such as Pokémon Heroes.
- Despite plastering from the following logo, it can still be seen on US prints of The Talented Mr. Ripley, There Will Be Blood, and a YouTube Movies print of The Aviator (2004).
Editor's Note: Despite the nice CGI, some people don't like how this plastered the previous logo on some films.
5th Logo (December 25, 2008-July 6, 2018)
Nicknames: "The Buildings II", "Lights/Lites in the Big City II", "Manhattan Skyline II", "The City II", "Miramax Skyline II"
Logo: Same concept as before, but instead of the skyline, we pan up to see the Brooklyn Bridge at sundown. As the sun sets, we zoom towards the buildings until we finally get to the skyline of Manhattan. One difference of the skyline is that the World Trade buildings are gone (possibly due to 9/11). After we get to the city, the lights in the building windows begin to turn on. As we zoom slowly to the skyline, several lights begin forming the Miramax Films logo like before. The city skyline then fades to black as the Miramax Films logo forms, piece by piece.
Trivia: This logo was made by Studio Nos.
- Since 2010, most films only show the last half of the logo.
- Starting in 2011, the word "FILMS" is omitted. This variant first appeared on The Debt. Both of these versions (particularly the latter) plaster over older Miramax logos on new releases of their films.
FX/SFX: A marvelous hybrid of live-action and CGI effects.
Music/Sounds: Usually, a soft piano tune with coastal and city noises. Sometimes, it is silent or has the opening theme of the movie.
Music/Sounds Variants: On some recent prints of their 1987-98 films, such as Pulp Fiction and Il Postino (The Postman), it uses the 1987 theme.
Availability: Common. It first appeared on Doubt, and made its final appearance on Whitney. It also plasters older Miramax logos on recent prints of films. Strangely, it appears before the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo on Runaway Brain when it was a digital-exclusive extra on Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection. It also strangely appears on a recent Cinemax broadcast of Tombstone, a Hollywood Pictures film. Until Lionsgate and Echo Bridge assumed the home media rights to the Miramax catalog, this was used as a de-facto home video logo.
Editor's Note: Once again, this logo is well liked, but some people are annoyed how it plasters older Miramax logos. While it does get some notoriety, the logo wasn't very notorious when it debuted in 2008 (due to it being the longer variant and not plastering).
6th Logo (October 19, 2018- )
Nicknames: "The Buildings III", "The City III", "Aurora Miramaximus", "The Big M Returns"
Logo: We see three sets of blue light rings (2 of the 'R', and one of the first 'M', where the I is partially visible) at night in the Hudson Valley, soon followed by the company name, spread out, slowly coming together to form the logo, illuminating a city (possibly a bird's-eye view of New York) below. The respective byline fades in.
- 2018-2020: A beIN MEDIA GROUP COMPANY (in variations of the Gotham font) underneath the "MAX" text
- 2020- : a beIN MEDIA GROUP AND VIACOMCBS COMPANY, with "VIACOMCBS" being the corporate logo, centered underneath the logo.
Variant: There is a shorter version, which skips the the first pan across the "R".
Trivia: The logo was animated by MOCEAN.
FX/SFX: Amazing CGI animation!
Music/Sounds: A somber four-note theme, or the opening soundtrack of the movie.
Availability: First appeared on the final trailer for Halloween (2018), and debuted on the film itself. The shorter version first appeared on The Perfection. The full length version is expected to appear on new films from the company released in theaters, while the shorter version will most likely only appear on Netflix exclusive films.
Editor's Note: This is the first time Miramax hasn't used the Manhattan skyline concept since 1998.