The ’90s Cult Classic Comedy Being Forgotten Because Of Harvey Weinstein

By Brian Myers | Published

Fans of the 1999 cult film Dogma have long since wondered why the Kevin Smith film isn’t available to stream. In a 2022 interview, the iconic director shed some light on why one of his most sought-after films remains in the digital graveyard, with the only hope for resurrection resting with one of the industry’s fallen stars. Harvey Weinstein owns the rights to the film and refuses to sell or transfer them at a reasonable cost.

How Harvey Weinstein Owns The Rights To Dogma

Ben Affleck

Dogma was distributed by Lionsgate Films and Miramax International, the latter of which was founded by Weinstein and his brother, Bob. Miramax was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 1993, which Smith said factored into how Weinstein was able to get full control of the film’s rights.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner was a bit nervous about Miramax making a film that he believed would be met with criticism from the Catholic community. As Disney wanted nothing to do with the film after its theatrical release, Weinstein was able to sell the movie to himself through another corporation. Smith didn’t realize it at the time, but this set off a course of events that eventually led to Dogma being essentially held hostage behind bars by a convicted rapist.

Kevin Smith’s Phone Call

kevin smith

Smith revealed in the interview that Weinstein contacted him by phone one day in 2017, telling the director that he was interested in doing something with Dogma again. Smith was elated, until he read the New York Times headline a week later that outed Weinstein for his many crimes against women.

After speaking to a colleague about the phone call, Smith felt as though the talk with the disgraced producer was not to discuss the film’s future, but to gauge whether or not Smith was one of the sources that had spoken to the media outlet.

Saving Dogmas Is A Costly Endeavor

Ben Affleck Matt Damon

Smith stated that he has been in contact with Weinstein’s representatives several times to try to secure a deal that would transfer the rights from the prisoner to himself. The price tag for the rights was in the ballpark of $5 million, a cost that Smith says simply isn’t worth it in the age of streaming media. Unless Weinstein has a change of heart, this means that a release of Dogma on physical media or the ability to legally stream it is a dream that is dead in the water.

Dogma Is One Of Kevin Smith’s Best Movies

salma hayek

The film was a box office success, due to a combination of an A-list cast, brilliant writing, and Kevin Smith’s unique touches as a director. Dogma stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as two rogue angels who are trying to find a holy loophole that will allow them to reenter the kingdom of Heaven. They are joined onscreen by Alan Rickman, Linda Fiorentino, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, and Jason Lee, as well as cameo appearances by George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, and Alanis Morissette.

Though it’s not streaming, you can still find the film used on VHS and DVD (both released in 2001) and Blu-ray (released in 2008). The price for used copies of Dogma are quite high, with prices often exceeding $100.