On Tuesday, February 19, Disney will hold its annual shareholder meeting at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut. In that day’s edition of the Hartford Courant, the Catholic League will run an op-ed page ad asking Disney shareholders to dump its subsidiary, Miramax.
On February 5, Catholic League president William Donohue faxed a letter to Disney chairman Michael Eisner and Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein requesting that they reschedule the opening of “40 Days and 40 Nights” until after Easter. The movie is about a Catholic, played by Josh Hartnett, who pledges to give up sex for Lent but has his will tested by his ex-girlfriend.
Some movie critics have already noted the vulgar content of the film and have questioned the propriety of opening the show during Lent. It is rated R for “strong sexual content, nudity and language.” It is precisely because the film is scheduled to open during Lent (March 1) that Donohue requested the opening be postponed until after Easter.
On February, 6 a New York newspaper reported that Miramax had turned down the request. Hence, the decision to appeal to the Disney shareholders via the Hartford Courant.
In 1995, the Catholic League protested the Miramax-distributed movie “Priest” and succeeded in getting the film’s opening bumped from Good Friday. In 1999, following a Catholic League protest, Disney succeeded in getting Miramax to find another distributor for “Dogma.” Now the Catholic League is asking Disney’s shareholders to support our effort in getting Disney to dump Miramax once and for all.