This is a question we could be asking a few years from now. That’s because the events of the weekend could very well destroy his career. Let me be clear, I’m a HUGE Smith fan and can’t wait till he comes back to Detroit to shoot Hit Somebody. And while I don’t think his career is in danger, I’ve been wrong before…
This past weekend at the Sundance Festival (where he launched Clerks and started his career 17 years ago), Kevin Smith premiered his new movie Red State. The movie is stirring up some controversy, as it is an obvious shot at Fred Phelps and the other religious nut jobs. The news however, isn’t about the movie, but rather what he said after the screening.
For those of you that don’t know, filmmakers take their movies to festivals like this in hopes of selling them to studios for distribution. So Smith filled an auditorium, many of the seats belonging to studio people, and had promised an auction of the film after the screening. But what he did instead was got up on stage and talked for 26 minutes about everything that was wrong with said studios, before revealing that he had no intention to sell the rights at all.
This might not sound like a big deal to a lot of the people reading this, but there are ramifications that could be disastrous…
The videos are a bit long, so if you don’t have 26 minutes to watch them (below) let me summarize a little…
– He comes out carrying the last stick Wayne Gretzky ever used in Edmonton, before being traded to LA. We will shortly learn that this signifies his own leaving LA to do things on his own. I thought this was way cool.
– Then he talks, at length, about everything he feels is wrong with Hollywood advertising, and how afterward his $4 million dollar movie would need to make $26 million just to break even.
– He then tells the studios that he lied and won’t be auctioning off the movie, but instead using his smodcast and twitter to advertise it himself. He will then travel around the country showing the film and doing Q&A’s afterward to try to raise the $4 million to pay back his investors before the film even opens in October.
– Finally, he talks about no longer trying to make movies for a wider audience, but instead just focusing on his own fan base.
See the full videos here:
It’s a bit long-winded I know, but I loved when he told the studio heads he was sorry for lying to them, but they had lied to him for years with all the good trailers that preceded shitty movies.
Anyhow, he basically just burned a bunch of bridges, and now if his plan doesn’t work, he could have trouble getting movies made in the future. And he said as much himself in a quick interview afterward, which you can watch here: Kevin Smith ponders the fate of his career in Sundance
That being said, I think it will work, for him. Smith has a pretty loyal fan base (myself included) and a big enough name where he can have success doing things his own way. I could even see (if it works) his pals Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez trying something similar in the future.
Anyhow, I plan to go in March when he comes to Michigan, as I did last year when he was in Royal Oak. If you’re interested, here are the dates…
March 5th – Radio City Music Hall, NY, NY
March 6th – Wilbur Theater, Boston, MA
March 8th – Harris Theater, Chicago, IL
March 9th – State Theater, Minneapolis, MN
March 10th – Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI
March 11th – Clowes Memorial Hall, Indianapolis, IN
March 12th – Midland Theater, Kansas City, MO (the backyard of the hateful Fred Phelps)
March 14th – Clark State PAC, Springfield OH
March 22nd – Paramount Theater, Denver, CO
March 26th – McAlister Auditorium, New Orleans, LA
March 28th – Paramount Theater, Austin, TX
March 29th – Cobb Energy Centre, Atlanta, GA
April 4th – Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, WA
UPDATE: Supascoot did a pretty good write-up on this topic as well: SMITH: INDIE 2.0