Monday, May 31, 2004

Miramax honchos will release '9/11'



The Associated Press

Bob and Harvey Weinstein have finalized a deal to buy back Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 - which Walt Disney Co. blocked their Miramax Films division from releasing - and distribute it.

The brothers formed the Fellowship Adventure Group, described as "a new special-purpose company," to personally acquire the film.

They also reached a settlement so that Disney does not benefit from the movie. Any profits that go to Miramax or Disney will be donated to charity.

The Weinsteins repaid their parent company for all costs of the film to date, estimated at around $6 million. They will also be responsible for all costs to finish the film and all marketing costs not paid by any third-party film distributors.

They announced plans for the deal on May 12, shortly after Moore publicly denounced Disney for what he said amounted to corporate censorship.

Moore's film, which recently won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, attacks President Bush's handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and connects the Bush family with Osama bin Laden's.

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."

The confrontational Moore won an Academy Award for his 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine, about the Columbine High School shooting and U.S. gun control policy. The film earned $21.5 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing documentary ever.




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