Kevin Smith reveals why his film Dogma is banned from streaming

HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 04: Book Launch For 'Kevin Smith's Secret Stash: The Definitive Visual History' held at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 4, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 04: Book Launch For 'Kevin Smith's Secret Stash: The Definitive Visual History' held at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 4, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images) /

Kevin Smith’s 1998 comedy Dogma can’t be found on any streaming platform and the director explained what this has to do with a former producer and collaborator.

Dogma is a bloody, grotesque, and star-studded entry in Kevin Smith’s “View Askew” canon that, as a satire on religion featuring his popular creations Jay and Silent Bob, some would argue is exactly what you should expect from the Jersey-born filmmaker.

Angels & Demons

For its inversion of Christian and spiritual elements, the film sparked outrage in the late ’90s, unlike anything Smith has seen in his career before or since. Nowadays, his fans nitpick over later works such as Jersey Girl and Tusk but the visceral reaction to Dogma complete with protests and news coverage was widespread.

It was a topic of nightly and cable news, especially on Larry King, for a while back then. Smith did a number of interviews to discuss the controversy and defend his movie. He also showed up at some of the protest rallies incognito to understand what the people there didn’t like about the film.

With that reputation, it’s easy to see why Dogma can’t be found on streaming and virtually stands as a contemporary “lost film” outside physical media in circulation. But the movie’s spotty history is not why it is effectively blacklisted, as Smith explained to The Wrap.

The Devil Himself

He revealed the real cause is the film’s disgraced producer who launched the career of Smith years before, Harvey Weinstein:

"“In order to tell the story, unfortunately, I’m going to have to say the name that nobody wants to hear anymore. But of course, Harvey Weinstein figures into the story. After a decade, he remembered that I was part of the Miramax family. And he remembered that he had Dogma and had a cool cast.”"

The distribution rights jumped from Lionsgate, the company that put the film in theaters, to Columbia/TriStar for home video before they lapsed. A decade would pass until Smith got a call from Weinstein expressing interest in a sequel or TV series. This conversation went nowhere as by that point in 2017, Weinstein was on his way to jail.

The expose of rape charges that were going to tarnish the mogul’s career was about to be published by The New York Times which put a different spin on Weinstein’s coincidental call to Smith.

In Bad Faith

It wasn’t a social call as it turned out — Smith soon found out that Weinstein was digging for dirt on who talked to the press. Former Miramax executive John Gordon alleged his boss “called everyone because he knew the story was coming, and he wanted to find out who spoke [to the Times].”

Smith recalled his reaction to that revelation:

"“I was like, ‘That makes perfect sense.’ I’m guileless, I don’t see all the angles. He was calling not because he wanted to do anything with Dogma…[Weinstein contacted him] to see if I was one of the people who had spoken to the New York Times. I hadn’t because I didn’t know any of that stuff.”"

His hands were clean but Smith had to try like mad with his lawyers to get the rights back from Weinstein before he sold them for $5 million. However, that price tag was likely a ruse as Weinstein sat on the rights and rebuffed every offer from Smith possibly out of spite.

“He’s holding it hostage,” Smith added. “My movie about angels is owned by the devil himself and if there’s only one way out of this, maybe we could buy it back.”

An unidentified company now seemingly holds the rights to Dogma under lock and key (which Smith has his suspicions about and has asked his lawyers to look into) — thus keeping the film off mainstream streaming platforms, though there are VHS/DVD rips online here and there.

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Do you remember Dogma? Tell us below where it stands among your favorite Kevin Smith movies and if you hope it winds up on your preferred streaming service one day.