Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Harvey Weinstein hates you

Well, only if you live in the middle or South of the U.S.A., but more on that later.

If you missed out on "Grindhouse," and unless the Box Office numbers are just a big hoax, many, many of you did, you may have already missed your opportunity to see it. Or at least that's what Harvey Weinstein wants you to believe.

Personally, I think he's just full of ... . He knows that $12 million is embarrassing no matter how you spin it, so he's threatening to do something asinine in an attempt to make a highly unlikely week-two comeback. Hence the following, from Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily column:

Harvey Weinstein told me this morning that he's "incredibly disappointed" with the half-than-expected $12 mil box office for Grindhouse released on Easter Weekend (a controversial move itself). So much so, that he's considering abandoning the double feature as a single feature concept and re-releasing the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez movie around the U.S. "in a couple of weeks" as two separate feature-length movies with additional footage put in.

He just gets better and better, so please indulge me with some more quotes from her column:

"Our research showed the length kept people away. It was the single biggest deterrent. It was 3 hours and 12 minutes long. We originally intended to get it all in in 2 hours, 30 minutes." ... And the body blow: "We didn't educate the South or Midwest. In the West and the East, the movie played well. It played well in strong urban settings. But we missed the boat on the Midwest and the South."

Huh? So, it's our fault that your double feature of '70s schlock tributes tanked on one of the most family-friendly weekends of the year? That not many folks dragged their kids to see a zombie movie in which, at one point, Quentin Tarantino's testicles melt (there's no way to describe just how disgusting it is, you just have to see it.)

In spite of this infantile outburst from Mr. Weinstein, I do encourage everyone who enjoys Tarantino or Rodriguez movies to give this a chance, because its just tons of fun.

As for the split threat? I think it's an empty one, at least for the next month or so. Doing so, with another marketing campaign, would just be ridiculously expensive. And it would just kill any possible word of mouth, which was an unlikely development anyway.

Does it have a prayer this weekend? Probably not, given the full slate: "Disturbia," "Perfect Stranger," "Redline," "Slow Burn" and "Pathfinder." Not much in there that appeals to me, but certainly enough to muddy the waters for a "Grindhouse" recovery.

Face it, Mr. Weinstein: You indulged your two favorite directors in an artistic success that has turned into a marketing disaster. Crying about it won't help, nor will calling everyone who just said "no" an idiot.

DVD pick of the week

It's no contest this week: Fabian Bielinsky's last movie, "El Aura," is very close to a masterpiece. A little slow in stretches in which his camera was too in love with the scenic landscape of Patagonia, it still manages to deliver a solid film noir told from a unique perspective.

Some of you may know Bielinsky, who died of a heart attack before "El Aura" came out in most of the world," as the director of "Nine Queens." If you liked that, be warned that "El Aura" is something completely different. Its hero, an epileptic taxidermist who finds himself in the middle of a plot to rob a casino, is a man of very few words played perfectly by Ricardo Darin. You can read my full review here, but if you like a good film noir, you can't go wrong with this one.

19 comments:

Chris said...

You know, I live in New York, and I work at a theatre that runs Grindhouse. And it performed below expectations here as well. I read that comment yesterday and slapped my head in disbelief that the Midwest and South were once again being portrayed as regions of the country who "just don't get it."

Mo Diggs said...

Wrong: Southerners and Midwesterners are to blame.

Right: People are too stupid for this movie. Sorry but that's what I think. You try being less cynical when you overhear people thinking that "Grindhouse" is more expensive because it's two movies.

Reel Fanatic said...

I usually think I'm a pretty cynical person, but obviously I overestimated ... I can only go by the extremely unscientific sample of the 30 or so people who were there for our screening, who all seemed to enjoy it immensely, including the dude behind me who brought his 15-year-old son .. A little odd, but junior seemed to have a great time judging from how loud he was laughing

Marina said...

Great post. I also have a feeling this is an empty threat but I wouldn't put it past the Weinstein's to run with this stupid plan.

And thanks for the reminder of "El Aura". You're now the third person I've heard talk highly of it. Will add it to my list!

Reel Fanatic said...

I recommend it heartily, Marina ... It has all the markings of a classic noir, with touches of Memento throw in for good measure

Neel Mehta said...

After Sin City, I feel like I've... outgrown Rodriguez and Tarantino. I had a chance to see an advanced screening of Grindhouse and skipped it. I appreciate their effort, but it just wasn't for me. I'm too young to know what they're emulating, and too old to enjoy it now.

Reel Fanatic said...

I probably should outgrow it, Neel, but I probably never will ...

Mercurie said...

Well, speaking as a Southerner, I have to say that many of my fellow Southerners probably would have enjoyed Grindhouse if it had come to a theatre near them. The nearest theatre showing it to me is 30 miles away. Indeed, I would think Grindhouse would be a big hit around here--action movies, especially those with a good deal of violence, tend to do very, very well.

Reel Fanatic said...

I was kinda surprised that it opened at all three of the movie theaters in my little corner of the world, Mercurie ... One of our theaters is a Regal, and they sometimes don't pick up the slasher flicks (on moral grounds, I guess? Who knows)

Chris said...

If your Regal theatre is within a short distance of a competing theatre, they have to share product with their competition. Also, demographics play a big part. Some theatres don't play, say, African-American films (like Pride) because they aren't in an area in which it will succeed.

There are a number of other small factors, but those are the basic ones.

lunatic core said...

Everybody I know that didn't want to see this mentioned the length and the gun leg.

Far too much gun leg in the ads as well.

The marketing was horrible at attracting the masses.

Reel Fanatic said...

Perhaps I'll always just be more than a bit of an immature geek, lunatic core, but I loved the gun leg, and watching Rose MacGowan use it .. Her delivery of lines left much to be desired, but she certainly was game for the spirit of the flick

lunatic core said...

Her acting reminded me of her Doom Generation performance.

I loved it.

I thought it was perfect for this experiment in making bad into good.

I won't ever be too old for this type of movie. These weren'tjust right up my ally, these were my hometown. The place where I come to sleep and feel cozy about the world.

* (asterisk) said...

I don't know how, but I managed to complete miss the news of Bielinsky's death last year. I loved Nine Queens and was really hoping he had a long future ahead of him. You have literally floored me with this news. (Well, not literally, but I quickly rushed to IMDb to confirm, and let out a "Fuck me!" louder than I would have expected.) Very sad news...

Reel Fanatic said...

It is indeed, Mr. *, and I'm sorry to be the bearer ... Definitely see El Aura to find out he at least left us on a high note

lylee said...

No matter what part of the country we're talking about, the fact is that the marketing for this movie went over most people's heads. You either had to be of Tarantino/Rodriguez's generation or enough of a movie nut to understand why the ads looked so campy. Most casual moviegoers totally lack the knowledge base or the interest to figure out the grindhouse reference. I read on IMDB that some people actually walked out after the first half thinking the movie was over (I assuming not because they thought it was awful, though who knows). Who *are* these people?

Think it'll do better overseas? I somehow doubt non-Americans will have the knowledge base, either, but maybe they'll have more interest. I have a vague idea Tarantino plays well abroad. Not so sure about Rodriguez, though I'm guessing they like him in Mexico, at least...

I'd like to say it'll do better on DVD, except this is really a movie that should be seen in theaters.

Oh yeah, and splitting up the movie would be an incredibly STUPID thing to do. So stupid it doesn't even merit discussion.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have yet to met anyone who bothered to pay to see this one but walked out in the middle, lylee, and hopefully I never will

Sachin G. said...

This threat to split the films sounds familiar. Kill Bill was supposed to be one movie until it was split into two and then 45 minutes of additional footage was tacked onto the second film.

This time around, both Rodriguez & Tarantino must have done a good job selling the idea of a double feature. But now it seems Harvey may do what he wanted to do in the first place. Anyway, just speculation on my part.

But I can't imagine why they picked the Easter weekend to release this. If it was released on any other weekend, I might have gone to see it but I was away visiting family. And I am sure I was not the only one who was away.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm sure you weren't, Sachin ... I can't imagine too many people took their grandmothers to go see an extremely gory zombie movie for the hoiday