Wednesday, May 05, 2004

When you wish upon a star

Makes a difference who the governor and president are . . . .

So, it seems Michael Moore and Miramax are in a bit of a bind with the nice folks at Disney. The Mouse is forbidding distribution of a film critical of Bush and his Saudi ties (Saudi ties? What Saudi ties? Oh, riiiiggghht, those Saudi ties. Bummer, George. No worries though, few will notice. Fewer will care.)

And what's wrong with the project? Well:

Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.

"Michael Eisner asked me not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein; that doesn't mean I listened to him," Mr. Emanuel said. "He definitely indicated there were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney corporation and that's why he didn't want me to sell it to Miramax. He didn't want a Disney company involved."

Disney executives deny that accusation, though they said their displeasure over the deal was made clear to Miramax and Mr. Emanuel.

A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company had the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films if it deemed their distribution to be against the interests of the company. The executive said Mr. Moore's film is deemed to be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film, which does not have a release date, could alienate many.

"It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle," this executive said.


Miramax is free to seek another distributor in North America, but such a deal would force it to share profits and be a blow to Harvey Weinstein, a big donor to Democrats.

It's kind of a stretch here to connect the loss in film revenue to Moore's limited ability to donate to Dems if the cash flow slows. I doubt he's hurting that badly.

It would be charged were it to drop mid-summer, but Moore films are seldom that widely distributed. Plus, summer isn't so much for think-pieces. It's for blowing shit up, Michael-Bay-style. Perhaps I underestimate my fellow Americans.

But c'mon, it's summer, man.

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