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Disney subsidiary spends millions to garner 2nd top Oscar in 3 years

LOS ANGELES (BP)–A bidding war for Best Picture has been won by a Disney subsidiary for the second time in three years.
Miramax successfully spent “millions” promoting R-rated “Shakespeare in Love,” according to reports in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and Chicago Tribune the day after the film won the top Oscar, and six additional Oscars, March 21.
The Disney subsidiary nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture two years ago with a similar “big-money” campaign, as the Chicago Tribune described it, for another R-rated movie, “The English Patient.”
Disney is the focus of a boycott by various Christian groups over the entertainment conglomerate’s drift in moral values from founder Walt Disney’s emphasis on family fare. The Southern Baptist Convention added its concern in 1997 in a resolution adopted at its annual meeting in Dallas.
“Shakespeare in Love” received an “Extreme Caution” rating from MovieGuide, a Christian source for film reviews.
“Shakespeare in Love,” according to Movie Guide, “trashes” Shakespeare’s reputation and legacy, “slandering the moral character of our greatest writer who by the historical record was a devout Protestant Christian.”
MovieGuide said “Shakespeare in Love” contains “pagan elements,” “homosexual elements,” “excessive scenes of depicted fornication,” “two acts of depicted adultery,” “upper female nudity,” “drunkenness” and several obscenities.
MovieGuide reported that this fictional Shakespeare, at one point, “cries out to Jesus Christ for forgiveness,” calling it “a rare recognition of God and His Holy Order in an otherwise hedonistic movie.”
The Miramax/Disney campaign for “Shakespeare in Love” was conducted largely through Hollywood trade paper and newspaper ads, the Chicago Tribune reported. While no specific amount was reported for the Disney subsidiary’s spending, the Tribune reported DreamWorks countered Miramax by spending an estimated $4 million in behalf of its “Saving Private Ryan.”
For Miramax, the million-dollar campaign could yield tidy results. Variety reported March 22 “Shakespeare in Love,” with its seven Oscars, “appears to have a shot at hitting the $100 million mark” in domestic box office receipts and in overseas revenues. Before the Oscars, the movie stood at $73 million domestically and $57 million overseas.