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June 6, 2004: I take it all back -













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You can find a full discussion of Michael Moore's new film at May 23, 2004 - 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Wins Palme D'Or Award at Cannes - and that contains snippets of reviews and links to reviews, and comments on why it was facing distribution problems, and comments from my friends Emma and Ric in France. 

Disney, as reported, was blocking distribution of the film.  Miramax Studios, a relatively autonomous subsidiary of Disney that produced the film with Disney money, was trying to buy the domestic distribution rights so folks here could actually see it. 

Maybe I don’t like Disney Studios very much, the folks who “own” the film.  Maybe I harbor secret resentments against Michael Eisner, the Disney CEO, because he was an English major at Denison University (’65) and became a big shot.  I was an English major at Denison (’69) and didn’t.  Bah. 

But I made a prediction:

 

Bob and Harvey Weinstein (Miramax) are still tying to get Disney to agree to a price - any price.  Note also Icon Productions, Mel Gibson’s company, seems earlier to have tried to buy the distribution rights from Disney - but suddenly backed out (Moore says they probably got a call from the White House).  That’s when Miramax stepped in and tried.  The plot thickens.  And Disney is holding the film now - grinning.  They won’t budge.  Disney does make sure Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson get plenty of exposure on their radio outlets.  But this film isn’t going anywhere near a projection booth soon. 

 

I was wrong. 

Last Friday evening Disney sold the film to Miramax. 

And now it is coming to a theater near you, or maybe near you. 

See Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" Finds Domestic Distributor
Gary Gentile The Associated Press, June 1, 2004

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Michael Moore's award-winning documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" has picked up a U.S.  distributor and will hit theaters June 25. 

The film will be released by a partnership of Lions Gate Films, IFC Films and the Fellowship Adventure Group, which was formed by Harvey and Bob Weinstein specifically to market Moore's film. 

… The Weinsteins, who run Miramax Films, bought the rights to the movie from The Walt Disney Co., which owns Miramax and refused to distribute "Fahrenheit 9/11."

The Weinstein brothers will personally finance and control distribution and marketing, they said Tuesday. 

"I am grateful to them now that everyone who wants to see it will now have the chance to do so," Moore said in a statement. 

"On behalf of my stellar cast - GW, Dick, Rummy, Condi and Wolfie - we thank this incredible coalition of the willing for bringing 'Fahrenheit 9/11' to the people."

Disney chief executive Michael Eisner said the company "did not want a film in the middle of the political process" because he believed that theme park and entertainment consumers "do not look for us to take sides."

In a settlement reached last week, the Weinsteins repaid their parent company for all costs of the film to date, estimated at around $6 million.  Any profits from the film's distribution that go to Miramax or Disney will be donated to charity. 

 

So.  It’s a done deal. 

The issue now is negotiating with the theater chains and other studios.  The summer release schedule was locked in ten or more months ago – Harry Potter is back – Spiderman is back – Shreck is back - and The Day After Tomorrow may have legs (after all, it has a Dick Cheney look-alike as the evil Vice President who is much to blame for the end of the world as we know it and all that).  Things will need to be moved around.  Money will change hands. 

But somewhere, just before July 4th, we will be able to see this film in some markets. 

Thank, or blame, the French and that festival. 

____________

But…

Any profits from the film's distribution that go to Miramax or Disney will be donated to charity? 

Which charity?  More to follow on that…. 






























 
 
 
 

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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