Kevin Smith Explains Why ‘Dogma’ Isn’t On Streaming
Kevin Smith’s career was really made in video stores, and not just the one in Central New Jersey that he worked in back in his days before he directed Clerks. That was where audiences found his cult comedies, including Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma.
Of course you can’t find anything in a video store anymore because they basically do not exist. But just about all of Smith’s films are now widely available for rental, purchase, and streaming online. Except Dogma, which has mysteriously been out of circulation for years. After a couple DVD and Blu-ray releases, it’s been unavailable for purchase or rental since then. You can’t get it — at least not legally.
The reasons why have to do with the rights to the movie, which Smith told TheWrap are being held “hostage” by its original producer, Harvey Weinstein. The issue lies in the fact that Disney did not want to release the film through Weinstein’s Miramax Films, because they worried its satire of organized religion would garner controversy and protests (which it ultimately did). So the movie was instead released by Lionsgate. But after its initial home video release, the rights returned to Weinstein himself, rather than Disney, and he has held on to them through the years, alternatively ignoring the property or trying to sell it off to raise money amidst his numerous legal battles. (Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual assault.)
Smith revealed that Weinstein had tried to get him to sign on to make a Dogma sequel — something he’d wanted to do for a long time — just before The New York Times first broke its stories exposing Weinstein’s misbehavior. That made the conversation a moot point. After that, Smith said, he’s heard several times from third parties that Weinstein has been trying to move the rights. To which he’s responded...
Please tell that company that I’ll have nothing to do with it, if he’s still attached to it. I’ll work on a ‘Dogma’ anything, as long as he has no more ties to it,’ Smith told his lawyers. Smith and his lawyers even reached out about buying back the rights themselves ‘which we felt very dirty about because we didn’t want to give him money.’ But at the same time, it’s like my movie and he’s got it ... He’s holding it hostage. My movie about angels is owned by the devil himself.
So someone, whether it’s Kevin Smith or some other company, will need to buy Dogma before it can get another release. If only there was a way to do that without enriching Weinstein in the process. Wouldn’t that be a heavenly outcome?