Kevin Smith’s Cult Classic Comedy ‘Dogma’ Turns 20 This Year; But Why Haven’t We Heard a Peep From Smith?

Published on November 14, 2019

Angels, demons, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon—what could be a more outrageous religious comedy than the 1999 cult-comedy classic Dogma? This week, Dogma celebrates its 20th anniversary in Smith’s View Askewniverse series, a fictional cinematic universe Smith created revolving around the same characters, particularly Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself).

Dogma follows two ‘fallen’ angels, Ben Affleck (the brain) and Matt Damon (the sly, charming goof) who find a loophole in Catholic dogma that will allow the two angels to return to Heaven, after being cast out for following Lucifer. The problem is that if they operate on the principle that God is never wrong—proving him and/or her wrong would undo everything humanity is based upon—undoing all of creation and humanity.

As you can imagine, the religious cult classic caused some issues among several Catholic groups, which led to protests, accusations of blasphemy, and even death threats against Smith. While this didn’t keep Smith from doing what he’s known best for doing—getting a rise out of the audience, it’s safe to say there probably won’t be a sequel anytime soon.

But what’s even more demonic is the fact that Smith doesn’t even known the rights to his own movie. Unfortunately, if you want to catch the film, you will have to purchase it outright—that’s right, you have to buy the physical DVD, because you won’t find it available on digital streaming platforms.

While Smith owns the legal rights to the “Jay and Silent Bob” characters, it gets a bit cumbersome and complicated with the rights to Dogma itself. When Smith created the film, Miramax, which was then under the ownership of Harvey and Bob Weinstein, was owned by Disney. Disney’s “family-friendly” programming line-up did not want to include a film about an abortion clinic worker (Linda Fiorentino) who sets out to save the world from two renegade fallen angels, portrayed by Affleck and Damon. For this reason, the Weinstein brothers personally bought the rights to the movie and had Lionsgate Films release it.

Ever since, the Weinsteins have owned Dogma—blessing and a curse, and moreso a curse because Smith can’t celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary because he doesn’t have the rights over it.

“This is the 20th anniversary of ‘Dogma,'” Smith said. “I can’t celebrate it because the movie is not owned by me. It’s not available publicly. At a certain point, I felt I created Loki. It’s not like we are building the marketing campaign on Loki, so I’m going to weight a certainty over a doubt and I’m certain including Loki is the right thing to do. The only thing that would be the doubt is he starred in a movie that you don’t technically own.”

I think Weinstein could afford to be somewhat generous, given his unfortunate demise throughout Hollywood following his legal trouble.

According to Business Insider, the last time Smith heard from Harvey Weinstein was back in 2017 when Weinstein called him about wanting to make a sequel to Dogma—it was only a week after that the New York Times released its expose, detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein that spanned back decades.

As it stands, Dogma is the only Kevin Smith movie that is unavailable to stream.

Kevin Smith is one of the great directors of our time, of course I’d hear and consider any idea he would suggest,” Weinstein said to Business Insider through his spokesman Engelmayer.

The film also stars Chris Rock, Alanis Morisette, the late George Carlin, and the late Alan Rickman. Definitely a film you want in your collection.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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