July 21, 2008
July 22, 2008

DMMCOT #6 Weinsteins & Cinema

This isn’t a bitch and whine session. I don’t think they’re evil. I don’t think they’re brilliant. I just don’t understand them.

Moriarty just posted an ‘Open letter to Harvey…’ concerning the less than confident release of Outlander. First of all, Moriarty is a total muppet. He writes as if he believes he is going to be the catalyst for a turn-a-round in the Weinstein business model mindset. He isn’t. And so, if you actually want them to read it, don’t make it 1700 words long. Don’t retell the narrative. Don’t even bother tagging a ‘ps’ in regards to Inglorious Basterds on the end because the guy’s never going to have bothered wading through all that dreck to begin with. Instead Moriarty should’ve said ‘This is a great film, there is an audience for it, act like you have some balls left and push its release.’ But he didn’t. and the open letter will have no effect.

The Weinsteins however are in a funny place. It’s been over a year since I read in an interview that movies were the only area that they weren’t making money in. And recently there’s been a bunch of bad news.

Grace is Gone. My dad made more money than this movie last year. And he did it without John Cusack’s help. (How many more dud movies is Cusack likely to have before he hits another 1408? Dude’s got bad luck.)

Death Defying Acts. I’ve made more money than this film in the last few months. Then again it was only showing on two screens.

All the Boys Love Many Lane. Hasn’t been released. This fact was highlighted many a time during Levine’s press tour for his new film. After The Strangers did well and after their own success with Halloween, why the hesitation with an R horror film? Is the issue still the rating? If not, is it because it’s a bad movie? If so, then why did they buy it in the first place?

Then there’s the negative buzz surrounding their ‘treatment’ of Asian titles. The process of buying films to never show them, or cut/rescore them just doesn’t seem like the kind of decisions made by….people who like movies.

What I’m getting at is there are the people who will fuck with your project and get it into theatres and seen by the masses (Hancock). Then there are the people who will fuck with it and never get it seen. The Weinsteins are the fuck up in this scenario. And maybe not just from a business standpoint anymore.

Jonathan Levine was approached by the Weinsteins with an offer to buy The Wackness. The same people who bought and stuck his last film in a closet, now had the balls to approach him again. Levine chose not to tempt fate and went with Sony. And why wouldn’t he? As a low key (for now) director, why the fuck would anyone ever do business with the two people who are keeping his baby from seeing the light of day?

I’m going to take a gander at what might be the biggest problem in the future for the Brothers…people won’t want to work with them. Unlike the instances when Sony or Fox or Paramount have messed around with directors (or anyone else), the Weinsteins created a facade that was grounded in prestige pictures. Oscar hopefuls, arthouse for the mainstream, ‘works of art.’ The other big studios are, well first off; they’re bigger. Secondly, this image is not a crucial element of their company. Yes they go for the Oscars like everyone, but with Miramax it was a bigger deal for them. The smallish studio that cranked out potential masterpieces for the Academy. They were not a studio about to embark on $150 million stories about earth-destroying asteroids, or superheroes. And to survive as that kind of studio, they need artists.

If the Weinsteins keep buying irresponsibly, getting cold feet, recutting films, shelving films, dumping films, who will be there to trust them? Not the ‘artists’ (WANK ALERT) of the cinematic world. What incentive do they have, when these two once great brothers are now forging a reputation for making rash purchases and low-key dump releases? Jonathan Levine knows that. Maybe others will follow.

And as for Fanboys…

…I’m not really sure what was won, if anything, when I have a bad feeling that it’ll be another addition to the dump pile.