It’s an understatement to say the Weinsteins haven’t had the best luck of late. A string of recent, widely-released films including Hannibal Rising and Grindhouse have failed to make financial impacts and their award push with films like Miss Potter and Factory Girl simply landed lukewarm. There’s always the upcoming Sicko and My Blueberry Nights to resuscitate a disappointing 2007/early 2008, but in the mean time, drama abhors a vacuum. There’s an interesting story about their loss of Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights. While it’s yet to be seen if the loss of this project will truly be a loss, it can’t be a confidence builder when Vaughn actually campaigns get the movie TWC picked up in Toronto out from under their banner.
While the film was picked up by the Weinsteins back in September, the marketing and rollout scheduled for Wild West Comedy Show wasn’t cutting it for Vaughn, who then asked the Weinsteins if he could buy it back to get it redistributed through a partnership that would align more closely with Vaughn’s vision. WWCS is to be R-rated, but part of the disagreement stemmed from Weinsteins proposed marketing emphasis around the rating, instead of an emphasis on getting to know your pal Vince Vaughn. To the Weinsteins’ credit, they capitulated and WWCS and its world rights have since been picked up by Picturehouse and New Line at a lower price (about $1.5 million to Weinsteins $3 million), with a robust commitment to market the film more heavily. Picturehouse had been actively bidding for the project in Toronto.
WWCS is currently being slated for release in early 2008 (gotta ride that Fred Claus train) and features Vaughn hitching his wagon to not one, not two, not three, but four standups and hitting a 30-city tour in 30 days (which you may have taken part of, even). The film covers the gigs in addition to all the shenanigans behind the scenes. While the Toronoto Film Festival version clocked in at a shade under two hours, it’s since been cut to a lean and mean 90 minutes.
Score one for Vaughn and score one for The Weinsteins. Vaughn gets to distribute and market his film the way he wants it to be and the Weinsteins prove they aren’t total douchebags when it comes to "artistic vision". That, or it goes to show a certain ineptitude at marketing films that’s been an unfortunate Wesinstein hallmark of the last few months (with their Asian film distribution, you could probably spread that out to years).
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