In an attempt to shield the Walt Disney Co. from potential backlash over the upcoming satire Dogma, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, cochairs of the Mouse-owned "indie" studio Miramax, have decided to form their own company to acquire the film.
The brothers Weinstein personally will shell out about $10 million for the rights to Dogma, then find another studio to distribute the Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) flick.
"Disney is a target that's too vulnerable in a situation like this," Harvey Weinstein says in the Los Angeles Times. "They make family movies, and a protest could hurt them unnecessarily...We said, 'If this is a corporate problem for [Disney], let's solve it for them.' "
Of course, Disney has been skewered in the past thanks to Miramax fare like Priest (a gay priest drama) and 1995's Kids (a gritty take on sex- and drug-obsessed teens).
Now, several religious organizations, including the protest-happy Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (the group that has picketed Disney-run ABC's now-defunct Nothing Sacred and Fox's Ally McBeal over supposed anti-Catholic antics), are grousing over Dogma.
Miramax describes the film as "an adult fairy tale, a fantastical journey about a lone hero [Linda Fiorentino] joined by a band of misfits [Chris Rock, Salma Hayek and Jason Mewes and Smith doing their Jay and Silent Bob shtick]" who try to save the world from two fallen angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck). Alanis Morissette plays a skeeball-loving God.
"Dogma was from first to last always intended as a love letter to both faith and God almighty," Smith says in a statement that calls him a practicing Catholic.
"It's mind-bending...that anyone would still attack a work that has yet to see the light of day without having seen it themselves."
According to Smith's Website (www.viewaskew.com), Dogma is slated for an October release.