Monthly Archives: January 2011

Kevin Smith purchases his own movie for $20; announces road tour

Red State teaser poster; Image Credit: The Movie Poster Shop

Independent film director Kevin Smith (“Clerks,” “Dogma,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”) announced this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival that he would be severing all ties with Hollywood, according to an article in Entertainment Weekly. In a bold move by the director, Smith gave a nearly 30-minute-long speech after the screening of his new religious horror film “Red State” explaining how he was planning on using his fan base to help distribute his film.

The unusual thing here is that Smith announced via Twitter that he was there to sell his film to a studio for distribution, knowing that he had no such plans to do so. He announced that he was going to purchase his own film for $20 and use Twitter and a road tour of his film to raise money and release the film himself, without the help of the studio system.

While Smith did apologize for the deception about the auction, he did claim that the people in the studio system has “lied to [him] many times,” further motivating this hoax.

A video of the speech can be found below:

Later that day, the dates and locations of the road tour were released on Bloody-Disgusting.com. This is not the first time something like this has been done with a cult film. Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2008 film “Repo! The Genetic Opera” did something similar, although to unsuccessful box office results.

Now, I have a great deal of respect for Kevin Smith, but I’m not so sure this is the best course of action for him right now. He has been in trouble with the film industry before, as evidenced by his backlash towards critics of his last film “Cop Out.”

I’m certain that others feel this way as well. Devin Faraci, of the blog “Bada** Nerd,” finds Smith’s analysis on the state of the independent film to be “hurtful to the many good people working in indie film today.”

Smith has always been a bit of a rogue in the Hollywood circuit, and this debacle at Sundance could potentially destroy his career. Granted, he also announced that his next film “Hit Somebody” would be the last directorial effort of his career. Then he will strictly be working with his own distribution company.

This announcement of his retirement from directing came as a bit of a shock as well, but that may be why he chose this point in time to directly attack the studio system and try to do something about it. Is he wanting to start a revolution? Only time will tell.

While I don’t think Smith would ever accept help from a publicist, I think it is exactly what he needs right now. If I were his publicist, I would suggest possibly taking a less radical approach to the entire affair. I understand his frustration with the studio system but I feel like, despite his 1.7 million Twitter followers, he could be isolating his fans by doing this.

If Smith truly wants to make “Red State” for the fans and bring it to them personally, I would suggest not being so preachy about the studio system. I also think that he needs to make his statements about his issues with the studio system sound less like attacks and more like actual concerns. This might garner more sympathy for his cause from his viewers and even from people in the studio system itself.

Either way, I look forward to seeing “Red State” when it is (hopefully) released on October 19 (the anniversary of the release of “Clerks,” Smith’s directorial debut).  I just hope Smith’s plan works, and that he learns to perhaps be a little bit more soft with his attacks. Although anyone who has seen at least one of Smith’s movies (with the exception of “Jersey Girl”) knows that “soft” isn’t something he is very skilled at.

“Red State” stars Michael Park, Academy Award nominee Melissa Leo, John Goodman, and Kyle Gallner. A trailer for the film can be found below the jump.

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‘Scream 4’ possibly undergoing additional shooting? Uh-oh

Scream 4 Teaser Poster; Image Credit: Dimension Films

UPDATE: Wes Craven vaguely confirmed via Twitter on Feb. 1 that he was “In Michigan getting you more to #SCREAM4” and tweeted a photo of star Alison Brie. After fan concerns of reshoots, Craven stated in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly the next day that “They’re not reshoots. We had a couple test screenings and we saw two scenes where they had moments you could add to and we just saw a spectacular opportunity. Bob [Weinstein] just said to me basically, ‘You go to your dark side and I’ll give you the money!’ The two scenes were really good, but we saw how they could be spectacular, so we thought, let’s just go for it. They were key moments of the script, so we just decided to go back and go for the grand slam on them.” Also confirmed is that the ending is not being changed. END UPDATE

Well this could be one of the more depressing bits of information I have read recently.  According to OnLocationVacations.com, Wes Craven’s “Scream 4” might be heading back to Michigan to film some additional footage.

Here’s what they say:

“One of our readers, Amy, received a filming notice in Northville, MI (on Clement St. between 7 mile and Frederick) for Jan. 31 & Feb. 2 that simply listed a motion picture entitled “Z”. Anyone who was following the Scream 4 shoot last summer will remember much of the film was shot in Northville under the production name Z. So, it sounds to us like Scream 4 may be returning to Northville to shoot another scene.”

If this is truly the case I have one big concern: that these re-shoots are a result of the current print of the movie not being very good. Any movie aficionado knows that re-shoots of any kind are usually a fairly good indicator that the movie is going to be a stinker, with the filmmakers making a last-ditch effort to try to improve the film.  Just look at the remakes of “Black Christmas,” “Clash of the Titans,” and “The Wolfman,” both of which went through extensive re-shoots to produce quite terrible end products.

Also, the word-of-mouth on this could be disastrous for the film. I don’t see the point in using a fake name for the film and keeping everything so secretive. Obviously, Dimension Films does not want the plot of the film to get leaked, but since news of additional shooting has been leaked, I would at least expect a news release to be sent out explaining the reasons for the additional shooting in order to assuage any concerns fans of the series might have.

Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin in "Scream 4;" Image Credit: The Weinstein Co.

I honestly don’t see “Scream 4” being a box-office failure, but the horror community is one of the most loyal and rabid fan bases in existence. It is not wise to abuse their trust like that, which is why Dimension Films should do something to show their confidence in the film. Even Wes Craven coming forward to say something would help.

Nevertheless, Dimension Films needs some help in the public relations department and learn to communicate with their audience a bit more.

“Scream 4” opens on April 15 and stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Marley Shelton, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin and Alison Brie.

The trailer can be seen after the jump: