Michael Moore has always been known as the face of his own movies.
For his popular documentaries “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine,” which won him an Oscar, he travelled the country plugging his work in countless media outlets.
But for his latest movie, “Where to Invade Next,” the face of the movie has hardly been seen.
Moore was taken to the intensive care unit at a hospital in New York City after coming down with pneumonia on February 5, a week before the film hit theatres, and was a unable to tour with the film after that.
Though the movie is the highest-grossing documentary of the year so far in the US, with close to $4 million earned to date, it’s not taking in the kind of money that his previous hits have.
Moore sold the film at the Toronto International Film Festival last September to a startup distributor run by Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, who had left The Weinstein Company’s VOD arm, Radius, to go out on their own.
The yet-unnamed company, which is also run by Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League, has only bought “Where to Invade Next” to date. It’s been mum to the press on its plans going forward.
I spoke with Moore on Thursday in promotion of the Blu-ray release of “Where to Invade Next” (available May 10), and asked the filmmaker about his thoughts on the company that released the film.
“Do you know the name of the company?” Moore said.
When I said that I didn’t know if it had one yet, he responded, “Hm, so maybe you’ve answered your question. There is no phone number for this unnamed company. There’s no address. I don’t think there was even a payroll. I think everything was contracted out to freelancers,” he said.
When asked if he felt Quinn and Janego overpromised what they could do for the film, Moore said, “I’m not prepared to talk about this right now. I think it needs some time and some investigation and when I have it all before me I’ll have something.
“I will say this, Tom Quinn and Jason Janego seem to be good and decent people,” Moore continued. “I didn’t know them before this transpired. But they certainly have a good track record, but honest to God I can’t answer your question because I honestly don’t know if there is a company, was a company, what they’re doing now. And that’s a different story for a different day.”
Quinn, however, told Business Insider that he loves the movie and is proud of the work he and his company did to make it the top-grossing documnetary of the year so far.
“There is no smoking gun, it’s an issue-driven movie, and I think Micheal Moore doing that kind of movie was interesting,” Quinn said. “That’s why I bought it.”
Moore has been known throughout his career to be tough on his distributors. He even sued the head of the distribution company behind the release of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Harvey Weinstein, over profits for the movie.
The company releasing “Where to Invade Next” certainly seemed to be planning a signature Michael Moore release, including a 50-state bus tour.
But while pictures of the bus surfaced on social media, the tour never happened. When asked why, Moore told BI, “Like I said before, I’m not ready to talk about this right now. I saw the same picture and it looks like a nice bus.”
Quinn said of the canceled tour, “He got sick. We had two buses. Unfortunately he couldn’t do it, because of his health issues.”
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