Take a Bite of the Apple

I'm the Richest Man in the World! -- Uncle Scrooge

Michael Moore is swimming in money after Fahrenheit 9/11, according to a Slate analysis that describes how the filmmaker and Disney rode the controversy over the movie all the way to the bank:

Under normal circumstances, documentaries rarely, if ever, make profits (especially if distributors charge the usual 33 percent fee). So, when Miramax made the deal for Fahrenheit 9/11, it allowed Moore a generous profit participation -- which turned out to be 27 percent of the film's net receipts. Disney, in honoring this deal, paid Moore a stunning $21 million. Moore never disclosed the amount of his profit participation. When asked about it, the proletarian Moore joked to reporters on a conference call, "I don't read the contracts."

I loved Roger & Me and TV Nation, but over the years Moore's penchant for dramatic embellishment and sloppy facts made it hard for me to enjoy Fahrenheit. He produces great diatribes, but documentary filmmakers are one of the last remaining groups who believe in the quaint notion that facts matter. If we lose them to spin, all we'll have left are reference librarians, the Society of Professional Journalists, and Bob Somersby.

I'm not surprised that Moore exaggerated Disney's actions in refusing to distribute the film, nor that Disney found a way to profit handsomely from a project it was ostensibly refusing to release. Their relationship is a lot like Tom Cruise publicly grouting the esophagus of Katie Holmes right before both release summer blockbusters.

The same cynical game appears to be at work with the new Steve Jobs biography iCon: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business. The book's print run was doubled after Apple, at the presumed behest of Jobs, banned the publisher's books from Apple stores.

I haven't spoken about this with anyone at Wiley, a company that also publishes one of my books, but I have trouble believing that a marketing genius like Jobs took this action without knowing it would send book orders through the roof. The guy runs a company with so much hype you'd never know it sells fewer desktop computers than also-rans like Acer and Lenovo. Apple's marketing is difficult to resist. I own five computers and a laptop, and I'm still convinced I need a Mac mini.

Memo to self: Find a way in next book to anger Steve Jobs.


According to John Dvorak in this podcast, Jobs personally wasn’t behind the ban, it was a toady. Who knows…

Sloppy with the facts??? I'd love for the author to explain that one. Farrenheit 911 was documented to the hilt. Its obvious the author hates Moore and it struggling to come off as impatial. So what if he made money, he was doing the job the media wouldn't do - getting the facts out.

"...Tom Cruise publicly grouting the esophagus of Katie Holmes..."

Thanks for the burst of laughter that line induced. My cube-mates are wondering what's going on.

Chris: How about sloppy with spelling and grammar? You, not Moore. Someone isn't in love with F9/11 and that means they hate Michael Moore? Great logic. As far as being "documented to the hilt", this film shows how easy it is to manipulate the facts in a documentary.


I am fairly new to Workbench as a regular reader so you might be a local crackpot that I am unaware of so I will be gentle. Yes. Sloppy with facts.

Please surround yourself with pillows as you read the article I have linked so it will not hurt too much when your world comes crashing down.

Scotty, Todd: Citing Free Republic and its cousins is hardly useful in this instance, the authors have exactly the same bias as Moore from the other direction. I have difficulty believing, though, that any involved American could have made a documentary in the run up to the last election that was as objective as, say, most of Ken Burns' work. Just too much passion all around.

The whole Katie/Tom thing is pretty funny. But it did help me at work this week so I don't care if they're going to make her childhood dream come true or just show off for the photogs.

It's not exactly a secret Moore has taken, uh, liberties with his last couple of films, and the two far left/liberal documentary filmmakers I know hate him for making it more difficult for them to be taken seriously. What's dumb about MM is that he could have made an effective anti-Bush/war/Republican film without giving the whole industry a bad name.

Rogers, give a Mac a try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm quite sure you don't equate sales with who makes the better product in other arenas, and I've never had a virus, or for that matter much spam, in 20+ years. And I've never had to wipe my hard drive and start over, or take my computer to a repair guy or have one come over, or deal with most of the things that aggravate everyone else about using a computer. And I have a tattoo of the Apple logo on my wiener.

P.S. I know what Godwin's law is, but what's the law about people who can't read a mention of computers without pledging their psychotic love for Apple? Jobs' law?

P.P.S. Am I the only one who mentally replaced grout with caulk as soon as I read your post?

whoever wrote the slate article is very mistaken. i have inside knowledge of this film and its distribution; disney had nothing to do with it and never saw a single check. miramax never made a cent either - harvey/bob solely owned the distribution rights and went with LGF to do the dirty work...

Moore's facts were well documented, far better than Fox News every night of the week.

No, YOU are

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