According to this piece in Variety, Michael Moore's new film Fahrenheit 911 still doesn't have a U.S distributor. (At least as of Sunday -- another more recent Variety news article says that the film received a 20 minute standing ovation in its premiere at Cannes, so perhaps a deal will come out of that.)
Michael Moore admitted Sunday that his "Fahrenheit 9/11" still does not have a distrib -- "Maybe some distributors are afraid of the film" -- but vowed the film must open in the U.S. before the election. "George W. Bush has to be removed from office," he declared.
Referring to the pic, which bows tonight in competition, he said, "From the beginning, there was pressure to try to stop it." Though Icon had originally agreed to finance the docu, Moore was told that Icon topper Mel Gibson got a call from a honcho in the Republican Party who said, "Don't expect any more invitations to the White House if you fund this movie."
Harvey Weinstein and Miramax agreed to distribute the film ("Same deal, same money, same everything"). But Moore said that on April 23, Disney senior veepee of production Brad Epstein viewed the pic and reported back to Eisner: "One viewing from a low-level production exec" was enough to end a firm deal for distribution, he said, apparently because "the potential of this film to have an impact on the election is greater than they thought."
Disney's official explanation is that it doesn't want to do political entertainment in an election year, though Moore pointed out that Disney and its various channels and programs air Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson.
The distribution problem "is intended to stop this film and make sure Americans don't see it," helmer said.
Taiwan and Hong Kong have no deals for the pic, but otherwise it has a distrib everywhere in the world except the U.S.
One of the sticking points with a distrib is the insistence on opening the July 4 weekend: "We won't accept a release date that conveniently pushes the film past the election."
Distribs have been mum on whether they're in talks to handle the pic.
Referring to Bush as "the dumbest man who ever ran for the presidency," Moore said Al Gore and the Democrats were unable to inspire voters to turn out for the 2000 election. So the film is important: "We decided we were not going to leave it up to the Democrats to fuck it up again and lose it."
Promising "you will see things you have not seen before and learn things you have not learned before," Moore said the film evolved during its making and now is half about Iraq. He had crews working on the docu who were embedded in Iraq who uncovered great stuff. Talking of the forces behind the war, he exclaimed, "They are totally fucked! And that's all I want to say."
The DVD release is targeted for October, and Moore said he plans to include commentary and include info on the problems of distribution.
Asked [...] if people will view his attacks on the administration as unpatriotic, he said, "I'm the most patriotic American who believes the principles of his country." Saying America had created a lot of global havoc, he added, "My job is to be an American and try to turn things around."
On a lighter note, Moore said he has ideas for both fiction and nonfiction films. "I'm already down the road on a few of those." Among his potential docu targets: U.S. health care, Israeli-Palestinian relations and an impending oil crisis.
I guess I have to take minor issue with Moore's memory when he says "We decided we were not going to leave it up to the Democrats to fuck it up again and lose it." Has he conveniently forgotten that he was a very visible public supporter of Ralph Nader in 2000? There's no doubt that Gore did not run the best campaign, or make the best decisions as a candidate (running away from the Clinton/Gore legacy, not utilizing Bill as the big gun he could have been, etc.), but surely Nader's candidacy played some part in the loss to Bush? One word -- "Florida".
Update: According to Reuters via Kos, there's a "911" distribution deal brewing:
In the wake of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" world premiere Monday, a new drama is developing behind the scenes as Miramax chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein set about locking down a new distributor for the film, which their Disney parent has forbidden them from releasing.
According to sources close to the wheeling and dealing, the pact the Miramax co-chairmen are seeking is a complex one that could very well include multiple parties in an effort to split up theatrical, home video/DVD and TV rights.
That strategy could work for Moore and the Weinsteins in several ways.
Moore wants to see the film released as early as the Fourth of July weekend to expose audiences to its anti-Bush message well in advance of November's election. That could prove problematic for one of the larger specialty film distributors, which might find it difficult to accommodate a new film on their ambitious slates on such short notice.
But if the Weinsteins opt to go with a leaner unit that can mobilize quickly and has no competing films, they may want to find a different home for "Fahrenheit's" DVD and TV rights. A bigger player with more distribution clout in the ancillary market could serve that need.
At a smaller, indie distributor, the Weinsteins -- who have indicated that they want to have a hand in the film's publicity and marketing -- could exert more control over the film's path. Although Lions Gate ended up getting much of the credit for Kevin Smith's "Dogma" -- an earlier Miramax film that Disney forced the Weinsteins to take to another distributor -- Miramax actually was deeply involved in the movie's release plans. The "Dogma" deal was similar to "Fahrenheit's" in that the Weinsteins are effectively buying the film from Disney.
There are several players still circulating in the talks, according to sources. But one factor affecting the closing of a distributor deal is that the Weinsteins have not yet concluded their pact with Disney to buy back the film, a move that must be completed before a new deal is struck.
If the Weinsteins do dole out "Fahrenheit's" rights to several buyers, it could work to their financial advantage.
"Pricewise, if you have something valuable and you split it into parts, you can get more than if you sold it all together," said one insider familiar with such strategies.
A further complicating issue is that not every distributor interested in the film is eager to take on the Weinsteins as partners. Add in Moore, and any potential distributor has to be willing to wrangle the three outsized personalities that make up the "Fahrenheit" troika.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.