| Miramax sale includes 'Gnomeo,' 'The Switch'|
The animated movie Gnomeo & Juliet and three other completed pictures are included in Disney's sale of Miramax Films. The first pics from the new Miramax will be:
- Gnomeo & Juliet, set for a wide release Feb. 11: There was a question about whether this family film about warring indoor and outdoor gnomes would be included because Disney was so high on it. Now in postproduction, it was produced by London-based Rocket Pictures, run by Elton John, Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish, who was the executive most involved. It was financed by Miramax and made under contract at the Starz Animation studio in Toronto. The voice cast includes James McAvoy (as Gnomeo), Emily Blunt (as Juliet), Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Patrick Stewart.
- The Switch (wide release Aug. 20): Known during production as "The Turkey Baster," this stars Jennifer Aniston as an unmarried 40-year-old woman who uses a turkey baster to be artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant. Seven years later, she discovers that her best friend replaced the sperm she had specially chosen with his own. It also stars Jason Bateman, Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum.
- The Debt (opens Dec. 29 on more than 1,000 screens before expanding): Helen Mirren stars in this drama directed by John Madden about an Israeli agent who is killed on a secret mission to find a doctor who is a Nazi war criminal. The doctor resurfaces 30 years later. The cast includes Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Chastain.
- Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (wide release Jan. 21): The subject of a panel discussion at Comic-Con, the horror film is produced by Guillermo del Toro and stars Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce.
The Tempest, directed by Julie Taymor and originally made for Miramax, is being kept by Disney. It will screen at the Venice and New York film festivals before getting a Dec. 10 platform release.
by Alex Ben Block