24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Miramax Films

Guillermo del Toro resurrects 'Dark' from development hell

August 24, 2011 |  3:07 pm

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Soon after Bob and Harvey Weinstein left the Walt Disney Co.’s Miramax Films in 2005, Guillermo del Toro rang up the parent studio. The “Hellboy” filmmaker wanted to know from Disney which movies the Weinsteins were taking with them and which they were leaving behind.

Having clashed with the brothers in directing 1997’s “Mimic,” Del Toro had no interest in collaborating with the Weinsteins again, but he very much wanted to mount a remake of the 1973 TV movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” which had been in development at Miramax for several years, at one point with James Wan ("Saw") penciled in to direct.

Lucky for Del Toro, the Weinsteins left it behind. “I got it back, read it, and was still in love with it,” said Del Toro, who had personally optioned the remake rights to the 1973 original.

The feature film, opening Friday and being released by FilmDistrict, was ultimately produced and co-written by Del Toro, who closely mentored first-time feature director Troy Nixey. It’s taken Del Toro more than a decade to bring the film to theaters -- “I was shepherding this movie at every step,” the Mexican-born director said -- but he says the effort was worth it.

“I think it’s academically spooky,” he said. “It has nothing to do with hard-core gore.” To read more about the film and Nixey's feature directing debut, go here.

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 COMIC-CON 2010: Guillermo del Toro isn’t afraid of … much of anything

-- John Horn

Photo: Katie Holmes, right, and Bailee Madison star in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." Credit: Carolyn Johns / Miramax Film Corp.


Thriller 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' gets new distributor, August release date

February 14, 2011 |  1:30 pm

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“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” has escaped from the shadows.

The thriller, produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, had once been scheduled for a Jan. 21 release by Miramax Films. But the movie was thrown into limbo when Disney sold the specialty label in a $660-million deal. It was unclear what Miramax's new owner, Colony Capital, would do with it -- Disney didn't want to hold on to the title and do its own release. 

Now, new distributor FilmDistrict says it has acquired all U.S. rights to the film from Colony Capital and will release the movie on Aug. 12. FilmDistrict is the new financing, production and distribution outfit launched by producer Graham King and Tim Headington. Other potential distributors said they wanted to cut the film to get a PG-13 rating, but FilmDistrict will release “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” with its original R rating.

FilmDistrict’s slate includes April 1’s “Insidious,” April 8’s “Soul Surfer” and Sept. 16’s “Drive.” The company’s theatrical distribution president, Bob Berney, previously released Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Orphanage,” which Del Toro produced, when Berney was running Picturehouse Entertainment.

A trailer for “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” which follows a young girl’s frightening encounter with nasty, tooth-collecting gremlins who live in a mansion’s furnace, was shown to wide acclaim at last summer’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. The finished movie now could end up back at Comic-Con this summer. The film, a loose remake of the 1973 television movie of the same name, was directed by newcomer Troy Nixey.

--John Horn

Photo: Katie Holmes in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." Credit: Miramax Films


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