Miramax books an Austen winner


Miramax took the high road to theaters this summer with a fictionalized Jane Austen biopic that far outgrossed the specialty film unit's other releases.

Julian Jarrold's "Becoming Jane" boasted romantic chemistry between "The Devil Wears Prada" star Anne Hathaway and "The Last King of Scotland" lead James McAvoy. Adding Julie Walters and Maggie Smith for some British authenticity helped the early-August release gross $15.7 million, a purse that could continuing growing in the fall. The film is the latest evidence that the Austen name remains an art house lure.

Emanuele Crialese's Italian immigrant drama "Golden Door" earned good reviews for star Charlotte Gainsbourg. It made slightly more than $1 million, a decent gross for a mainly Italian-language period production.

As Picturehouse did with "Rocket Science," Miramax took a bet on an appealing teen comedy with no stars in its cast. The New Zealand import "Eagle vs. Shark," from writer-director Taika Cohen, got a world cinema dramatic grand jury prize nomination at January's Sundance Film Festival but earned only $221,846 at the summer boxoffice.

The early-April release "The Hoax" added nearly $1 million to its $7.2 million take this summer.

Overall, Miramax's total did not lead the field, but in its second summer under president Daniel Battsek the outfit increased its share compared with last summer's $12.3 million tally, with "Jane" substantially outgrossing any of the films that Miramax fielded the previous summer.