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Weinsteins finalize ‘Fahrenheit 911’ deal

They are buying back Moore's film from Disney and distributing it themselves.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bob and Harvey Weinstein finalized the deal Friday to buy back Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” — which Walt Disney Co. blocked their Miramax Films division from releasing — and distribute it themselves.

The brothers formed the Fellowship Adventure Group, described as “a new special-purpose company,” to personally acquire all rights to the film, according to a joint press release from Disney and Miramax.

They also reached a settlement so that Disney does not benefit from the movie it turned its back on. Any profits from the film’s distribution that go to Miramax or Disney will be donated to charity, the statement said.

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.

The Weinsteins declined to comment, and Moore issued the statement: “It’s a fair and equitable solution.”

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.