Get ready to meet the new Miramax. At this year's Festival de Cannes, Priority PR took the new Miramax team under its wing and implemented a strategic marketing, event planning and publicity campaign for the new and emerging independent studio.
Cannes represented the first international outing for the new-look company so the stakes were high and the game plan called for perfection at every turn. Priority PR successfully led the heated charge by reviving the famous Miramax brunch. But to really set the event apart at the clutter-filled festival, Priority PR came up with the nautical and nifty idea of hiring a fleet of speedboats emblazoned with the Miramax logo to ferry more than 150 invited international distribution executives from the Festival de Cannes to a private beach at nearby Cap d'Antibes.
With bright, sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70's, it was a glorious day to be out on the water and for many of the guests, it was a chance to see the city of Cannes form a different vantage point. Held on Monday, May 16, 2011, the first speed boat – with our "thrill seekers" comfortably on board one of our Van Dutch vessels – departed the Majestic Pier around noon as guests were whisked away to the Plage Keller restaurant where a fabulously planned, French-style brunch awaited. Meanwhile, our "land lover" guests cruised the seaside by van.
Six months after a group of investors, including Rob Lowe, completed a $663 million buyout of Miramax from Disney, the venerable independent studio took this opportunity to send a strong message about the company's future intentions. While guests munched on grilled lobster, shrimp and scallops and could sample vintage regional grapes in the form of a wine tasting station on the sandy beach with panoramic views and the French and Italian Alps, CEO Mike Lang told the crowd that he's planning to take the new Miramax into the digital age but there's a lot more ahead. "We're still trying to figure out the strategy," he said, "But we want to get the word out that it's going to be more than just exploiting the library."
Days before the event, Priority PR spread the word about the "speed boat" brunch by arranging numerous meet and greets with key international journalists. In interviews, Rob Lowe dropped hints of what the next steps might be. The first job for Lowe has been to sort through some 650 unfinished works stored in a warehouse that came with the Miramax deal. "We're not trying to be funny – it IS the ending of Indiana Jones," he told one interviewer. "And you'd think from your $660 million or whatever we paid, you'd get a file on your computer and you click on it and it would list the projects, what's right there and everything – but no. So you would find the 7th script in an unmarked box and it turns out to be the movie Anthony Minghella was going to do before he died, to be produced by Sydney Pollack. That's the kind of stuff you come across." He added: "You always think that everybody has a master plan and it turns out that very few people do, right? It's no surprise. Hollywood has never, ever been run like a true business, ever. And I'd like to think that we could bring some sanity to it."
Colony Capital led the Miramax buyout and Lowe, who was making his first visit to Cannes in 20 years, also wanted to spread the word that the Miramax acquisition is only the first step in a bigger game plan for Colony and himself in his new role as a businessman. Said he: "My role here is really twofold: one, in my capacity at Miramax, it's to facilitate meetings and build on relationships that I've had in my career as an actor over the years; and two it's to look for new opportunities for the fund, to build on what we started with Miramax."
Priority PR's team of specialists also worked on the bustling Festival de Cannes party scene on behalf of its client. Movie executives at the Riviera festival, which doubles as a huge market for films around the world, say distributors are spending more freely on new projects now that a period of tight financing due to the global financial crisis has eased. The party scene was certainly reflective of the new enthusiasm.
A fitting end to our campaign came at the TREE OF LIFE screening, which went on to win the prestigious Palm d'Or. Priority PR coordinated the red carpet activities for the top Miramax executive team, which also included Miramax chairman Richard Nanula, to attend the premier of the movie starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, who also made appearances on the red carpet in Cannes.