The media and entertainment conglomerate announced Friday afternoon that Bob and Harvey Weinstein, head of Disney's
operation, had personally acquired all rights to the film from Miramax, and have paid Miramax for all costs of the film to date.
The deal ends another chapter in the history of
, a documentary, said to be highly critical of President Bush, directed by decidedly unobjective documentarist Michael Moore. In recent weeks, Moore had made a public issue over Disney's refusal to distribute the movie; earlier this month, the movie won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
The deal presumably also removes one headache for Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who in the past few months has had no shortage of job-related difficulties, ranging from a shareholder revolt to the continuing weakness at the ABC television network.
Disney's shares fell 24 cents Friday to close at $23.47.
Moore has previously dissected American culture in the documentaries
Roger and Me
and the Oscar-winning
Bowling for Columbine
Disney said that any monetary benefit to Miramax or Disney as a result of the film's distribution would be donated to charity.
It's unknown, as of yet, how much monetary benefit Disney is forgoing by refusing to distribute Moore's latest movie. Documentaries traditionally reap substantially less at the box office than fictional tales. But Moore has proven to be able to garner attention for his movies, and the public spat with Disney has certainly raised the profile of
Bowling for Columbine
said that the movie had grossed $21 million at the box office in the U.S. -- making it one of the biggest-grossing documentaries ever -- and a total of $50 million worldwide.
Partly as a result of President Bush's lack of popularity overseas, there would appear to be a relatively large international audience for the movie; in fact, Disney said that the film's sales agent "has already put several international distribution deals in place."
A Disney spokeswoman didn't return a call Friday seeking information about what charities might benefit, or what charities Disney might have donated to in the past under similar circumstances.