Walt Disney Co. on Monday named Daniel Battsek as president of Miramax Films, the independent studio founded by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein.


Battsek, who most recently served as executive vice president and managing director of distribution and production for Buena Vista International UK, will take over all Miramax operations on Oct. 1, after the Weinsteins depart on Sept. 30, Disney said. Until then, Battsek will work with the brothers on completing projects in production and will oversee the marketing and distribution of Miramax and Dimension films scheduled for release.


In his new role, Battsek will focus his efforts on building an executive team and a slate of new Miramax films. Battsek, who will report to Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, will move from the United Kingdom to New York where the Miramax headquarters operates independently.


Miramax released a number of award-winning films for Disney, such as "Shakespeare in Love," "Chicago" and "The Aviator," but Disney moved to scale back production and refocus Miramax on its original business of finding and distributing small and foreign films. News reports in June said the new Miramax will have an annual total budget of $350 million and will release six to 10 films a year, with budgets at around $12 million or under.


In March, the Weinsteins announced they would leave the studio to launch their own film distribution company after months of contentious contract negotiations with Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner. The long-anticipated settlement ended one of the most tumultuous relationships in Hollywood.

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