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Miramax CEO steps down as studio pivots

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Miramax CEO Mike Lang is stepping down, signaling that the award-winning studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein is heading in a new direction.

The studio behind movies such as "Pulp Fiction" and "The English Patient" was purchased from The Walt Disney Co. by a group of investors for $663 million in December 2010.

Since then, Lang has aggressively sold rights to the Miramax library of films to digital outlets such as Netflix Inc., Hulu and NetMovies in Brazil. He has increased the staff roster from a handful to about 70 employees, and cut a deal with The Weinstein Co. to jointly develop sequels to movies in which both companies have an interest, such as "Bad Santa" and "Rounders."

But investors including Colony Capital, Ron Tutor and the investment arm of Qatar had already withdrawn the majority of their equity in a refinancing last year that added more than $500 million in debt. New distribution deals are expected to bring in $325 million in revenue over time.

Last year, Miramax released three movies that came with the purchase from Disney, including "The Debt," starring Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain.

The executive change suggests a ramp-up to become a full-fledged studio, a sale, or more of the same just under new leadership.

Lang said he will remain with Miramax as a consultant until a successor is found.

"The value of the Miramax film library and its iconic underlying brand is clear and the future is bright," Richard Nanula, chairman of Miramax and a principal at Colony Capital, said in a statement.

Miramax's chief financial officer, Steve Schoch, will serve as interim chief executive.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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