You Wish Upon A Star... by Michael Moore - 7th May
Moore official website)
you for all the incredible letters of support as my
film crew and I once again slog our way through the
corporate media madhouse. Does it ever end? Are we
ever going to get control of our "free press"
again? Can you wish upon a star?
Disney spin machine has been working overtime dealing
with this censorship debacle of theirs. I don't think
they thought they would ever be outed. After all,
they know that all of us are supposed to adhere to
the unwritten Hollywood Code: Never tell the public
how business is done here, never let them have a peek
at the man behind the curtain.
has been hoping for nearly a year that they could
keep this thing quiet. As I promised on Wednesday,
here are the details behind my sordid adventure with
the Magic Kingdom:
April of 2003, I signed a deal with Miramax, a division
of the Walt Disney Co., to finance and distribute
my next movie, Fahrenheit 9/11. (The original financier
had backed out; I will tell that story at a later
date.) In my contract it is stated that Miramax will
distribute my film in the U.S. through Disney's distribution
arm, Buena Vista Distribution. It also gives Miramax
the rights to distribute and sell the movie around
month later, after shooting started, Michael Eisner
insisted on meeting with my agent, Ari Emanuel. Eisner
was furious that Miramax signed this deal with me.
According to Mr. Emanuel, Eisner said he would never
let my film be distributed through Disney even though
Mr. Eisner had not seen any footage or even read the
outline of the film. Eisner told my agent that he
did not want to anger Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida.
The movie, he believed, would complicate an already
complicated situation with current and future Disney
projects in Florida, and that many millions of dollars
of tax breaks and incentives were at stake.
Michael Eisner did not call Miramax and tell them
to stop my film. Not only that, for the next year,
SIX MILLION dollars of DISNEY money continued to flow
into the production of making my movie. Miramax assured
me that there were no distribution problems with my
then, a few weeks ago when Fahrenheit 9/11 was selected
to be in the Cannes Film Festival, Disney sent a low-level
production executive to New York to watch the film
(to this day, Michael Eisner has not seen the film).
This exec was enthusiastic throughout the viewing.
He laughed, he cried and at the end he thanked us.
"This film is explosive," he exclaimed,
and we took that as a positive sign. But explosive
for these guys is only a good word when it comes to
blowing up things in movies. OUR kind of explosive
is what they want to run from as fast as they can.
did their best to convince Disney to go ahead as planned
with our film. Disney contractually can only stop
Miramax from releasing a film if it has received an
NC-17 rating (ours will be rated PG-13 or R).
to yesterday's New York Times, the issue of whether
to release Fahrenheit 9/11 was discussed at Disney's
board meeting last week. It was decided that Disney
should not distribute our movie.
this week we got the final, official call: Disney
will not put out Fahrenheit 9/11. When the story broke
in the New York Times, Disney, instead of telling
the truth, turned into Pinocchio.
are my favorite nuggets that have come out of the
mouths of their spinmeisters (roughly quoted):
Moore has known for a year that we will not distribute
this movie, so this is not news." Yes, that is
what I thought, too, except Disney kept sending us
all that money to make the movie. Miramax said there
was no problem. I got the idea that everything was
is not in the best interests of our company to distribute
a partisan political film that may offend some of
our customers." Hmmm. Disney doesn't distribute
work that has partisan politics? Disney distributes
and syndicates the Sean Hannity radio show every day?
I get to listen to Rush Limbaugh every day on Disney-owned
WABC. I also seem to remember that Disney distributed
a very partisan political movie during a Congressional
election year, 1998a film called The Big One
9/11 is not the Disney brand; we put out family oriented
films." So true. That's why the #1 Disney film
in theaters right now is a film called, KILL BILL,
VOL. 2. This excellent Miramax film, along with other
classics like Pulp Fiction, have all been distributed
by Disney. That's why Miramax exists -- to provide
an ALTERNATIVE to the usual Disney fare. And, unless
they were NC-17, Disney has distributed them.
Moore is doing this as a publicity stunt." Michael
Eisner reportedly said this the other day while he
was at a publicity stunt cutting the ribbon for the
new "Tower of Terror" ride (what a pleasant
name considering what the country has gone through
recently) at Disney's California Adventure Park. Let
me tell you something: NO filmmaker wants to go through
this kind of controversy. It does NOT sell tickets
(I can cite many examples of movies who have had to
change distributors at the last minute and all have
failed). I made this movie so people could see it
as soon as possible. This is a huge and unwanted distraction.
I want people discussing the issues raised in my film,
not some inside Hollywood fracas surrounding who is
going to ship the prints to the theaters. Plus, I
think it is fairly safe to say that Fahrenheit 9/11
has a good chance of doing just fine, considering
that my last movie set a box office record and the
subject matter (Bush, the War on Terror, the War in
Iraq) is at the forefront of most people's minds.
what will happen to my movie? I still don't know.
What I do know is that I will make sure all of you
see it by hook or crook. We are Americans. There are
a lot of screwed up things about us right now, but
one thing that most of us have in common is that we
don't like someone telling us we can't see something.
We despise censors, and the worst censors are those
who would dare to limit thoughts and ideas and silence
dissent. THAT is un-American. If I have to travel
across the country and show it in city parks (or,
as one person offered yesterday, to show it on the
side of his house for the neighborhood to see), that
is what I will do.
to come, stay tuned.
Be sure to check out yesterdays New York Times
Editorial, Disneys Craven Behavior
Moore official website
Makers and Movie Stars - What Makes a Star?