Michael Moore really, really, really wants you to see Fahrenheit 9/11 before the election, so much so that he’s willing to give up his chances for a Best Documentary Oscar and some of his home video profits in order to schedule a pay-per-view airing of the film before voters go to the polls. Variety reports that a deal is imminent for the film to air on In Demand, America’s biggest pay-per-view service, on Nov. 1, the night before the election. The film would be part of a three-hour special that would be bookended with fresh interviews with celebrities addressing the issues the movie raises and urging viewers to vote.
In Demand is already listing the event in the schedule posted on its website, but a Fahrenheit source says its not a done deal yet. Moore still has to get the approval of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, which released the movie on home video on Tuesday, and which would prefer to have more than a four-week window before the movie appears on TV and cuts into potential sales. The distributor had already grumbled about Moore’s decision not to seek a Best Documentary Oscar, a prize that would have boosted sales; he made that decision specifically in order to pursue a pay-per-view booking before the election. Films that air on TV within nine months of their theatrical release are ineligible for the documentary prize, though not for other Oscars, including Best Picture.
In Demand has agreed to a few concessions to appease Columbia TriStar. It won’t advertise or market the broadcast before Oct. 24. And it’s calling the event ”The Michael Moore Pre-election Special,” rather than Fahrenheit 9/11, to further distinguish it from the video. In any case, Columbia TriStar needn’t worry too much about sales; in its first day in release, the film moved 2 million units, making it already the most successful documentary in home video history.