May 07, 2004

FILM DISTRIBUTION IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT

While Michael Moore was complaining to ABC News, CNN, and Entertainment Tonight about corporate media crushing his dissent, Disney folk were quietly pointing out that Moore was aware a year ago that he needed to locate another distributor:

Executives said it was made clear to Miramax last May, when it became the principal investor in the film, that Disney would not let it be the distributor.

"Mr. Moore has had and continues to have every opportunity to either find another distributor or distribute the film himself," a spokeswoman for Disney, Zenia Mucha, said in a statement.

Marc Cooper has lots more.

UPDATE. As many readers have suspected from the outset ... Moore admits Disney 'ban' was a stunt:

Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore's claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 7, 2004 12:59 AM
Comments

It couldn't be that he's trying to stir up controversy for the film, could it?

Posted by: Lawrence at May 7, 2004 at 01:08 AM

Mikey was enjoying himself at his lakeside villa and was unavailable for further comment.

Posted by: BC at May 7, 2004 at 01:44 AM

What a fat, phony, phuquewad.

Posted by: Latino at May 7, 2004 at 01:55 AM

When I read about the likes of Moore, Pilger, Fisk and the like, it makes me realise why Iraq is similar to Vietnam.

Recently 'Front Page' had an interview with a very senior Vietnamese general from the Vietnam War.

He made a number of comments which went right to the heart of both wars.

The Tet Offensive, was considered to be a defeat by the Vietnamese, unlike the huge success it was painted by the western media.

If the Americans had given their guys the support being called for, they could have smashed the remenats of the Vietnamese forces.

Tet had in fact devestated their numbers and equipment to such an extent, that they could at best have offered token resistance.

The western press allied to the demonstrations at home cost them the knock out punch and the war.

The pictures of "Nam", bring the boys home and other campaigns weakened the resolve to act, to such an extent, it cost them a war they couldn't lose....but did.

General Giap and this general both attributed the victory to America lacking the resolve required to win.

Iraq :

The western press and the lefties are back on the road again. Human garbage like Fisk, Pilger and Moore speaking about human rights.....

As a lawyer I'd love to sit down for 10 minutes and explain that no RIGHT is worth a jot unless others accept the OBLIGATION to respect those rights.

If we all have the right to go at a traffic light nobody has the right.

In other words if you 9/11 me then fuck off with your human rights.

If you send suicide bombers, blow up Spanish railways, ambush pregnant women then fuck off with your prisoner torture pictures....animals must be treated as animals.

If Fisk et al want us to respect human rights then for goodness sake bomb the shit out of these cities as they did, kill innocent people like they do, with luck you'll get him and send drone bombers into market places.

Where there is no obligation to respect others anything goes...hey we got the big guns.

It's time for America to tell these cunts that we can outfuck you any which way you want.

SHOW THE RESOLVE fuck the PRESS and bleeding heart LEFTIES.

Posted by: traps at May 7, 2004 at 03:27 AM

So Disney done dumped Dumbo.

Posted by: Peter UK at May 7, 2004 at 04:37 AM

Sorry Pete I feel bad about knocking the Muslims.

If you just ignore the following wars/conflicts ;

Afghan
Israel/Palestine
Algeria
Chechnya
Iraq
Kashmir
Phillipines
Sudan
Nigeria
Thailand
Pakistan
Spain
India.......and on and on

add terrorism

and I can see why they are the victims. I can't tell you how worried I am about their human rights.

The biggest joke of course is their record of human rights within their own countries. We should adopt the same but switch the calenders back to 1066.

Why should the worst infringers of human rights on the planet be the cause for even one tear?

Happy to be Dumbo.

Posted by: traps at May 7, 2004 at 04:56 AM

VRWCer fantasy: MM goes to Mel Gibson for help in distributing his movie, and Mel beats the rat snot outta the fat, attention-deprived tubagoo.

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 04:58 AM

Has anyone else noticed that when ever the media talks about this, they call it "a film critical of president bush". just to make it sound like bush is somehow behind this and doesnt want people exposing secrets about him.

what a crock of shit.

Posted by: Oktober at May 7, 2004 at 06:44 AM

As has been noted on this site manys a time, it's called "projection."

Though I don't doubt what Dubya'd LIKE to do to these bastards, if he could get away with it. Like we used to tease the "bad troops" at Edwards AFB: "There's a helluva lot of empty ground around here, son."

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 06:51 AM

Fatso has now admitted the whole Disney "ban" claim was a stunt

The link's here

Posted by: Aaron at May 7, 2004 at 10:00 AM

Umm,

Maybe they call it 'a film critical of President Bush' because its a film critical of President Bush.

Naaaaaa.

Traps: whilst you mourn the killing of the innocent, to take your revenge by saying screw em all and killing their innocent places you right where they are as cowards. If and when you can find guys responsible for this, then yeah, prosecute the crap out of em. But a nation's integrity will go down the plughole if they demand to be treated and respected whilst screwing others. Why is this war so hard to win? Because the enemy can't be identified like the Japanese and Germans could 50 years ago.

"We got the bombs, OK?" - Dennis Leary

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 10:10 AM

"But a nation's integrity will go down the plughole if they demand to be treated and respected whilst screwing others."

That goes both ways, Swade. I'd say we have quite a long way to go before we sink to the everyday level of our current foes.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 10:13 AM

Swade said:

Why is this war so hard to win? Because the enemy can't be identified like the Japanese and Germans could 50 years ago.

You're almost right, Swade. It is merely harder, not impossible. You just have to be patient and smarter than the terrorists.

Oh, and no one said President Bush couldn't or shouldn't be criticized. It's just that Michael The Moor has zero credibility with some people (at least those that don't want self hatred spewed at them). His films are blatant propaganda, and pretty poor at that. This latest crap of his is typical of his views and morales.

Anything that Michael The Moor says must be examined closely, as it is likely more of his manipulation for his personal gain. How is that for national integrity?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 10:43 AM

Agreed Andrea. All I'm saying is that the distance would be significantly shorter if Traps had his way.

Back to the point of Mickey vs Mikey - Why won't Disney distribute the film? Offending broad family/political values? Cmon! This film has cost $6m to make and will take in a bucketload more than that. So why would Disney, which ain't exactly going great guns at the moment, turn down this cash cow, if it weren't for a squeeze from elsewhere?

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 10:47 AM

Because Disney ain't interested. By the way, don't dream that Jeb Bush will touch one hair on the Mouse's head. Disney World is a huge cash cow for Florida; they've even been given leeway to run their little segment of Central Florida like a little fiefdom. Trust me, I live here -- if Eisner had said "I'm bankrolling Fat Mike's diss of your brother" Governor Bush would just have had to take it. If Disney packs up and leaves billions of dollars would drain from this state like blood from an artery.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 10:59 AM

Swade, you sound just a might suspicious... "if it weren't for a squeeze from elsewhere." You're not suggesting that Dubya had anything to do with what Disney did in May '03, are ya?

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 11:27 AM

"911 Fahrenheit" is not a cash cow, Swade. If Michael The Moor has the same return for this flick, it'll bring in only $42 million.

And while you and I would love to have $42 million, to Disney that is not much. Given the potential fallout from this flick, Disney might lose that much in lost sales, boycotts, etc, if they did distribute the film. If you use the latest polls for Bush and Kerry as a conjectural basis, as many people would hate the film as would love it.

The bottom line is that Disney is in business to make money, not to be a charity or political organization. They get their money from the public by appealing to them. My guess is, Disney dumped Moor because he was a liability that could lose them money.

That's not censorship, that's doing business.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 11:31 AM

You live in Florida, Andrea? Then please please please channel some of your jackboot energies into motivating the Orlando Magic. T-Mac needs some players around him. Why did he ever leave Toronto (pls don't answer with the obvious!)? He and Vince could have been the dynamic duo of the OO's.

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 11:35 AM

Some interesting thoughts, I hope, on Wobbles the WonderFilmmaker...

...if he's known, as he admitted on CNN that Disney wasn't going to let Miramax distribute the picture, has he been doing NOTHING to find a distributor all this time? Would his investors, his management, his agent let that situation arise? Or has he been having difficulty finding a significant distributor?

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 7, 2004 at 11:37 AM

Swade:
This bulletin is just in:

"Grant Hill is almost ready to make his comeback from his latest ankle injury."

Wait, there's an update to the above:

"Grant Hill has suffered a setback in his attempt to return from his latest ankle injury. . .


SMG

Posted by: SteveMG at May 7, 2004 at 11:53 AM

I might be available in a few months...(sigh)

Posted by: K. Bryant at May 7, 2004 at 11:55 AM

Richard,

Not quite as interesting as you think. The fact is that whilst Disney owns Miramax, it doesn't have a blanket veto over everything Miramax does. There is an agreement with Miramax's executive that films may not be distributed under certain circumstances (those cited in the NY Times were inappropriate ratings e.g. NC17, or budget blowouts). It seems that Miramax believed in the project and backed it against the wishes, expressed in May 03, of the parent. Now, push has come to shove, and Disney has come out in public saying it won't distribute the film.

Andrew 'Grumbles' headline about Moore admitting a publicity stunt (see Aaron, above) was a nice eye-catching headline, but not particularly accurate for this exact reason. What happened in May 03 was the indication, what happened this week was the official word, which is why it was accompanied by press statements and company executives.

This film will get distribution, bet your house on it. And as for boycotts, I'd love to see the Bush family forming a picketline at the cinema.

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 12:03 PM

Examining what Marc Cooper has related, one glaring thing stands out:

while crying censorhip, creating a poltical storm , and shown to be liar all the way through, Moore may have cut his own throat. Why?

The argument between Disney and Miramax, that mirax executives defied the company on the this cinematic piece of lying called another documentary contains the force of the question?

The number of executives willing to carry Moore will decrease, quickly: no company and their executives care to have their reputations slurred, dragged through the mud, defamed publicly, nor risk being drawn into confrontation with govts ( marking Moore's lies about Florida and Jeb Bush and their influence on Disney's decisions) by a lying fat-arsed self serving idiot such as Moore.

He might claim, in his weasling lying way, censorship, but one suspects Moore has flapped his loose tongue one more time too much and loosely again.
This might be the end of Moore.

Posted by: d at May 7, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Forget Kobe,

Shaq still lives in Florida, why doesn't he just cut out the flying between there and LA? Imagine, Shaq daddy, T-Mac and Emeka Okafor all together. Oh yeah, you need a coach, and a point guard.

Sigh....Grant Hill....sob sob sob.

Posted by: swade at May 7, 2004 at 12:08 PM

I'm not suggesting here that this film will do what Peter Jackson's 3 flick did the last few years, but Michael Eisner's decision tree might need some pruning.

From Tim's link to the NY Times:

"For example, Disney vetoed Miramax's desire to finance "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy, one of the biggest successes in Hollywood history for Time Warner's New Line studio, because it was too expensive."

Oops.

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 12:22 PM

Swade, the film is not just critical of bush. it is critical of democrats as well. but for some reason, the media doesnt mention that part. they simply call it "a film critical of bush" thats distribution is being refused. to any leftist of dumbfuck, that sounds like bush is behind the whole thing.

Posted by: Oktober at May 7, 2004 at 12:34 PM

Swade: I repeat from earlier -- do you think Dubya had anything to do with Disney's decision back in May '03?

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 12:38 PM

I wish that Moore would at least have a shave, wear some decent clothes and act like a man of his means. The guy is a millionaire, lives in the appropriate accomodation but still wants to project the image of being a regular joe - give me a break.

Posted by: Rob at May 7, 2004 at 01:00 PM

Overjoyed Hollywood will reward Moore's lie with another Oscar.

Posted by: perfectsense at May 7, 2004 at 01:01 PM

I havent actually seen Moore use the word 'block', but he is certainly insinuating it, and most of the headlines have run with it.

Disney is *not* blocking distribution of the film. They are just refusing to distribute it. If they owned the rights, were refusing any distribution by anybody, then that would be 'blocking' it.

Posted by: attila at May 7, 2004 at 01:06 PM

> Why is this war so hard to win? Because the enemy can't be identified like the Japanese and Germans could 50 years ago.

That is a myth - we just didn't bother to identify the enemy during WWII we bombed them and anyone who seemed to be supporting them or standing close to them.

It is only throutg stupidly rose colloured glasses that WWII was faught without the deaths of "innocent civilians" infact they died in their millions and millions by our hands and by theirs.

If russia was taken over by a "hitler" and declared war on the US the US could now name the individuals who made the declaration of war and declare everyone else a "innocent civilian" just as easily as we divide up peopel into terrorists and non terrorists.

Posted by: Scottie at May 7, 2004 at 01:12 PM

And refer to it as a documentary, perfectsense. Moore is a Capitalist mimicking the dupes that follow him to make money. Good on him I say.

Posted by: Gary at May 7, 2004 at 01:21 PM

Swade: you have unfortunately met someone from Florida who gives not a fuck about the fortunes of any sports team anywhere. Sorry.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 01:39 PM

Oktober - yes, there's reportedly criticism of Dems in the film too, but I think you'll find the lion's share of the subject matter is reserved for Dubya & Co. I think we can forgive the media this minor detail instead of calling for them to write it up as "a film critical of George Bush, and a little critical of the Democrats too."

Geezer - Your question is as irrelevant the second time as it was the first. I haven't suggested that Dubya was behind Eisner's May 03 intentions, however I have cited Moore's agent claiming that Disney's tax concessions and their relationship with the Florida legislature were priorities in his talks with Eisner.

My question in the post above was if this movie is a surefire money maker (and a 42 million return on a 6 million investment as suggested above by one post-er is a fair return, even if you're D.Trump or W.Buffett), then why would a company with some recent struggles, flat out refuse to be part of it?

Other post-ers have offered their opinions on these and I think they're fair enough.

If you're looking for a conspiracy theory, try searching under your pillow.

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 01:41 PM

Andrea - now I REALLY hate you! Brewing some venomous bile as we speak to be spewed forth at your non-sporting self.

ok, kidding, but we aussies do get passionate about our sports (and yes I know NBA basketball isn't one of 'our' sports, sheesh)

Posted by: Swade at May 7, 2004 at 01:49 PM

As to F911 being a cash cow, there's a good reason big studios don't release a lot of very-small-budget movies: the studio financial and labor overhead to produce and release a movie is pretty much a constant regardless of the budget, in terms of administrative expense, ad buys, etc. Basically, all the movies are expected to pay their share of Eisner's salary whether they're made for three million or a hundred million.

Very few low-budget movies make back the kind of money it takes to justify the studio overhead. So Miramax may have bought F911 as a "prestige" item, but it will not be the kind of blockbuster that is cost-effective in studio terms. Based on what Moore's previous films have earned, Disney probably wouldn't have earned back its advertising cost to make the picture viable.

Plus, of course, Jeb Bush and Kathleen Harris woulda snuck into Eisner's house one night and shot his puppy...

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 7, 2004 at 01:50 PM

Rob How many "regular joes" can show up for work looking as slovenly as Michael Moore...?

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 7, 2004 at 01:52 PM

I guess now all the people who joined Moore in full-throated condemnation of Disney's last-minute "censorship" will now rethink their trust and support for Moore.

Innocently,

B

Posted by: Brian Jones at May 7, 2004 at 02:19 PM

Fatboy could always try distributing it himself. Oh..wait...that'll cost him money, not make it. Naaaah, better to spend theirs or whine alot.

Posted by: JakeD at May 7, 2004 at 02:41 PM

I just read Tim's update....what the heck is going on here with you people? Are you saying that Michael Moore lied?!?!?!??? No! This is a false headline of the right, lying to smear this great man, who only seeks to spread truth and enlightenment, and supports peace at any price. He would never lie, simply to make a few dollars. Michael Moore is above mere scrabbling for money.

John Kerry said so a few minutes ago, and I always believe John Kerry. After all, he was in Vietnam.

[/sarcasm mode]

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 04:12 PM

Swade: sorry, I was busy doing my toenails...

"So why would Disney, which ain't exactly going great guns at the moment, turn down this cash cow, if it weren't for a squeeze from elsewhere?"

As if we all might conveniently forget for the moment that the state legislature you're NOW referring to happens to operate in the same state as Dubya's brother... ah, fuck it, I need another beer. Irrelevant, my arse.

Just out of curiosity: was Dubya elected or selected? Just for future reference, of course... no harm intended.

Posted by: Binny Laden at May 7, 2004 at 04:15 PM

Crap! Binny Laden's previous post was mine -- the fucker just won't stay dead!

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 04:18 PM

Swade, not all Australians care about sport. Sacreligous I know, but hey, I guess that makes me a heretic and an infidel.

Posted by: Peter Ness at May 7, 2004 at 05:07 PM

Micky Mouse had to turn down Moores film, because Micky doesn't have a middle finger.

As far as half of America being in favor of a good Bush Bash session, ask Gen. Wesley Clark how popular Micheal Moore is among Democrats.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 7, 2004 at 05:40 PM

Swede

Its all about the Kings baby.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 7, 2004 at 05:43 PM

Of course Disney has the right to distribute or not distribute whatever it likes. And if I were Michael Eisner, just before resigning for the good of the Disney company, I'd have told Miramax that they couldn't distribute "Fahrenheit 911" too. Because it's good business

Remember, Miramax is the major investor in this film. So Disney has, by proxy, effectively already financed Moore's film and will benefit to whatever extent the distribution deals (U.S. and international) pay back to the film's producers.

There's no doubt that Moore is spinning this for all the publicity possible (and his assertion that Jeb Bush would unilaterally re-write Florida's tax laws to punish the state's largest tourist attraction and one of its biggest employers is demagogic, ludicrous and impossible), but this works really well for Disney and Miramax too. They give up whatever distribution money they'd have earned while retaining the (likely) greater amount they'll earn for financing and producing the film.

Now everyone knows that Disney didn't sink to releasing this film and so scores in conservative circles for that and avoids any subsequent boycotts at a time when theme park attendance is already suffering. Meanwhile its subidiary Miramax enhances its maverick image giving it a small measure of additional credibility among the generally liberal art house audience. And the money still comes in...

Posted by: John Pearley Huffman at May 7, 2004 at 05:48 PM

I sincerely hope for a day where Moore runs for President.

Then we'll see who's "popular".

In a race between:

Bush v Moore

advantage: Bush

Kerry v Moore

advantage: Kerry

Nader v Moore

advantage: Nader

Mugabe v Moore

advantage...well, you get the picture.

Posted by: Quentin George at May 7, 2004 at 05:58 PM

Wow--Lord Pork-Pork is a lying gasbag out to pimp his movie. Who would have guessed it, given the awesome beacon of truth that was Bowling For Columbine? I smell another Oscar coming for Moore. Either that, or a sewage pipe has ruptured near my home.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at May 7, 2004 at 09:06 PM

I hereby predict that this latest crap from Moore is going to make it into Tim's column next week.

Posted by: TokenModerateGuy at May 8, 2004 at 08:29 AM

"Stunt." Ha. "Lie." Ha ha ha.

Just because he knew for a year that Disney wasn't going to distribute his film doesn't mean that he wouldn't make it.

Just because a leftie knows the coalition will win, doesn't mean he doesn't vote left. (To take an example at, oh, random.)

If Moore could get the money for this film, he was always going to make it. Boo-tickety-hoo, it's not a conspiracy.

Posted by: Flashman at May 11, 2004 at 02:55 AM