Michael Moore is warring with Harvey and Bob Weinstein over the release of “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the Donald Trump-themed sequel to Moore’s award-winning “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the highest-grossing documentary of all time. The Weinstein brothers personally committed $6 million to Moore’s sequel, but now the future of the film is in jeopardy as TWC is for sale and both brothers face allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.
Deadline reports that the Weinsteins have spent $2 million on the film so far, and are blocking Moore and his WME representative, Ari Emanuel, from placing the film with a different theatrical or broadcast outlet. The brothers apparently want to recoup the $2 million they’ve spent on the movie, but, according to Deadline, Moore does not want to give money to Harvey Weinstein as it would “morally compromise his film to cut a check to a man he considers a sexual predator.”
According to Deadline, “If this leads to litigation, Moore would likely seek to undo the deal by alleging fraud against Harvey Weinstein, for entering into a deal on the film at a time he knew full well that his misconduct was being investigated and would soon be exposed.”
Devin McRae, an entertainment litigator in Los Angeles and partner at Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae LLP, told IndieWire that if Moore did effectively erase the transaction — as anyone seeks to do when claiming to be a victim of fraud or concealment — “then I think it would be tough for Moore to keep the $2 million.” Much depends on the specific language of Moore’s agreement with TWC.
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McRae speculated, “There would probably be a better argument to be framed that because of what Weinstein has done and the scandal, that’s rendered [Moore and his collaborators] unable to perform the agreement, and therefore [the Weinsteins] are in breach of the agreement.”
Damages could certainly result from a breached agreement; perhaps the $2 million would be deemed compensation, unless Moore sought additional damages. “I think [Moore] would probably be able to come up with a good argument that the agreement’s been breached,” McRae said. “Is Weinstein going to fight it and go to the mat on this? Well, maybe, but he’s got a lot of problems.”
Moore was unavailable for comment, but Bob Weinstein issued the following statement to Deadline: “Michael Moore and I always have and still enjoy a good personal and business relationship. With regards to commenting on his future film, I think he would be the best person to speak with.”
This could be the second time Moore goes to court to fight the Weinstein brothers. Moore filed a lawsuit in 2011 over unpaid profits on “Fahrenheit 9/11.” The sequel follows Trump’s Presidential victory and the chaotic fallout that took place during his first year in office.
Jenna Marotta contributed to this report.