Kevin Smith doesn’t mind going back to his old properties, whether he’s staging a “Reboot” for his iconic stoner characters Jay and Silent Bob or going back to the convenience store that launched his career with Clerks III. Both of these projects are examples of Kevin Smith’s willingness to revisit his older works. However, there is one film in Smith’s filmography that he is currently unable to work on any longer, and the reason for this is that Harvey Weinstein is making it impossible for him to do so.
Smith published a satirical look at Catholicism in the year 1999. The film was viewed from the profanity-laced perspective of the director. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon play fallen angels in the movie Dogma. Their characters have been excommunicated from heaven, but they believe that they have found a way to get back in through the Pearly Gates thanks to a loophole that they have found. If this were to occur, however, a great number of angels who had been cast out of heaven would be allowed to return, which would result in a great deal of disorder. Smith turned in a mature screenplay for the film, or at least as “mature” as a screenplay can be for a movie that stars a giant monster made out of poop. However, considering that it was distributed by Miramax, the film can be considered to be Harvey Weinstein’s property.
And he will not sell it back to Smith under any circumstances.
The director of “Clerks” appeared on a podcast to talk about his work in the industry. And when we reached Dogma, Smith’s demeanor changed to one that was very unlike him when he stated:
“I wish I could get that movie back, man. I’ve talked about it before, but you know, Harvey Weinstein – sorry, kids – owns that movie personally. The devil himself owns my movie about angels. And we reached out to try to get it back. Though, I was very conflicted about making an offer to buy it. Because I wouldn’t give that guy money. But everybody pointed out, ‘You’re not giving him money. You’re giving money to an account that is gonna be dispersed to a bunch of people he’s giving money to.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, fair enough. (That) I can get my head around. Let’s do it. Let’s open up. Let’s reach out to the lawyer and say, Hey, we would like to buy this movie back.”
Kevin Smith has begun the drawn-out legal process that will allow him to attempt to purchase back the rights to the movie that he originally created. Smith was the one who came up with the concept for Dogma, and the cast featured a number of recurring characters from Smith’s ViewAskew-niverse, such as Jason Lee and Jay Mewes. However, the newest members of the cast brought a whole new dynamic to the show. Alan Rickman, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, and George Carlin all made their debuts in a Kevin Smith production, which was their first film together.
But as Smith continued his account, it became clear that there was little chance that Dogma would ever be published. He said that:
“I wrote a letter where I’m like, ‘I know it’s just an asset to you. But like, this is my life. And one of my most important films. And like, I can’t even show it. Nevermind talk about making another one, or anything like that. So like, please, can I have… sell it back to me. And we made an offer that I thought was fair for the marketplace. Considering this is a movie that’s over 20 years old and stuff. And we were told no. Then we upped the offer. We were told no again.
Again, this all comes from his lawyer. I have no contact with the guy whatsoever. He’s in jail, as we all know, but his lawyer, I guess, talks to him and then relates the answer back. So he has refused to sell me my own movie. And each time, the money went up to pretty good money. He has a magic figure in his head that he feels he’s going to get, I guess. Again, I don’t know his thought process. This is just what I could gather from the lawyer. He’s got some figure. I think he wants like 5 million. It’s never going to happen. Who’s gonna pay 5 million for a movie? That’s dead.”
This is disappointing because, despite the fact that Kevin Smith is not really a blockbuster filmmaker known for raking in millions of dollars from his releases, he has cultivated an extremely devoted fanbase, and he even created a Road Show model that allows him to tour his films and show them as part of events that include a question-and-answer session with the audience. He has stated to ReelBlend that he wants to do that with Clerks III, and he has also stated that he hopes to do that with Dogma someday. Said Smith:
“I would just like to own this very beautiful movie about forgiveness and faith and blah, blah, blah. That’s tied up with this animal and he won’t sell it back to me, man. … If that dude had any conscience, he’d just give the movie back. In a world where we know he has no conscience, like – we offered real, I mean like this is gross, but like I don’t have this, but like I was able to collect a million dollars to offer for the movie, man. And it’s still being held hostage. So it’s kind of disappointing.
I hope it gets free because I would love to do the (sequel) that I wanted to do. At the very least, I would just like to take it out into the world. If I got Dogma back, I’d tour that for like six months, because hell yeah. People haven’t seen it in a dog’s age. They’d come out and see it in a theater again.”
It’s possible that this will be the first step in the push that Kevin Smith needs to make in order to raise sufficient awareness to convince Harvey Weinstein to return to the director’s movie. Put the Snyder Cut out of your mind. Dogma should be returned to Kevin Smith so that he can screen it for his existing and potential new fans.
While we wait for the good news regarding Dogma, you should make it a point to watch Clerks III, either as part of a Fathom event or when Smith brings it to a city near you.