When You Wish Upon A
by Michael Moore, May 7th, 2004
(Posted here by Wes Penre for
Illuminati News, May 10, 2004)
Thank 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?
The Disney spin machine has been working overtime dealing with this
censorship debacle of theirs. I
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
Disney 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:
In 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 the world.
A 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.
But 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 film.
But 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.
Miramax 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).
According 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.
Earlier 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.
Here are my favorite nuggets that have come out of the mouths of their
spinmeisters (roughly quoted):
"Michael 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 fine.
"It 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, 1998—a film
called The Big One... by, um... ME!
"Fahrenheit 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.
"Mr. 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.
So 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.
More to come, stay tuned.
P.S. Be sure to check out yesterday's New York Times Editorial, "Disney's
Sunday, May 09, 2004 20:51:20 -0700