Edward Jay Epstein, Hollywood Accountant

Move over, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

In his article in Slate, "Paranoia for Fun and Profit: How Disney and Michael Moore cleaned up on Fahrenheit 9/11", Epstein shows how Moore played up Disney's refusal to distribute his Cannes-winning doc, and how Disney happily extracted some serious participation--they netted $75 million of the film's $228 million worldwide box office, plus another $3mm for DVD royalties-- from the distributors they "sold" it to.

Given Disney's ongoing interest F9/11's performance, it sounds more accurate, if not technically true, to say they didn't "sell" the film, so much as they outsourced distribution.

But Epstein's talking about the accounting world's reality, where, as he's written previously, Hollywood studio films are all German productions now.

As for Moore, he made at least $27 million, not counting what he may have pocketed for producing the film itself (Epstein notes that it cost far less to make than the $6 million Miramax fronted for production, not including Moore's acting, producing, writing, and directing fees. [Of course, clearing the music could've eaten up that much, too, so who can say?])

Next on Epstein's list (I hope): "Sadistic Religiosity and Jew-baiting for Fun and Profit: How, verily, Mel Gibson got is reward from The Passion"

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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