In a dramaticand not entirely unforeseen twist to the Fahrenheit 911 debacle, Miramax Films' Bob and HarveyWeinstein were last night holding talks with the Walt Disney Company topersonally buy Michael Moore's terrorism documentary.
Spokespeople forboth Disney and its subsidiary Miramax confirmed the parties were innegotiations but stressed the deal was incomplete.
Controversyerupted last week after it emerged that Disney had blocked Miramax fromreleasing the picture, which is slated for release on Jul 2 and plays in competition in Cannes on Monday, because it alleges links between President George W Bush and Saudifamilies including that of Osama bin Laden.
However Disney sources saidyesterday that company executives instructed the Weinsteins a year ago to dispose of their interestin the picture.
It is believed Moore wastold around the same time that Disney would notrelease a politically controversial picture in an election year.
Disney chief executive officer Michael Eisner has rubbished claims by Moore that the company wanted to secure tax breaks for its Orlando theme park from Florida governor Jeb Bush.
"The Walt Disney Company has offered to allow Miramax's interest in Fahrenheit 911 to be acquired by Harvey and BobWeinstein personally or by any other third party," a Walt Disney Companyspokesperson told Screendaily.
"We are indiscussions with them to acquire that interest."
"We are veryhappy that Disney has agreed to sell Fahrenheit 911 to Bob and Harvey," a Miramaxspokesperson said. "Bob and Harvey are looking forward to promptly completingthis transaction."
If the sale,believed to be in the $5m-$6m range, goes through the Weinsteins will be freeto hire a distributor to release Fahrenheit 911 in the US.
The brothers are currently in talks with distributors and Lions Gate, United Artists,Newmarket Films and Focus Features are believed to be the leading candidates.