Dogma is a 1999 fantasy comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also stars with Ben Affleck. Even before its release, the film’s satirical depiction of Catholicism and the Catholic Church sparked much debate. It’s not available on any streaming services, and the Blu-ray is out of print, leaving customers with only an old, low-resolution DVD. Harvey Weinstein is the driving force behind all of this.
Smith reveals the tangled background of why Dogma is in copyright purgatory in a new interview with The Wrap. Smith made Dogma for Miramax, which was still operated by the Weinstein brothers but owned by Disney at the time. Then, anticipating religious criticism, Disney CEO Michael Eisner rejected the idea of releasing Dogma.
As a result, Weinstein sold the theatrical rights to Lionsgate (“Pre-Katniss Everdeen and the vampires that shine,” as Smith called it), but retained the rights. In the autumn of 2017, Smith received a call from Weinstein, who asked whether he’d be interested in making a sequel, series, or whatever with Dogma. Reports of Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual misconduct surfaced a week later. Smith, like many others in the industry, severed relations with him. Meanwhile, Dogma’s rights were overlooked.
Smith attempted to repurchase the rights, but Weinstein demanded a hefty sum. He said, “we felt very dirty about it because we didn’t want to give him money.” However, at the same time, it’s his movie. The rights are now owned by some mystery company, which Smith believes is covertly owned by Weinstein. He’s still working on getting it back.
He’s holding it hostage. My movie about angels is owned by the devil himself. And if there’s only one way out of this, maybe we could buy it away.
My movie about heaven is in limbo. What sucks is that he’s also sitting his fat ass on my movie. And the right thing to do would have been to sell it back to me even if you didn’t want to sell for the price that I first said. Tell us what that price is and sell me my self-expression back.
Dogma was Smith’s follow-up to Chasing Amy and his most successful film to date. At the very least, you can watch Clerks III. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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