In the meantime, Hollywood analyses GRINDHOUSE’s box office failure — a mere $11 mil at the box office. It’s this year’s SNAKES ON A PLANE, and no one wants that. Sometimes-accurate Nikki Finke grills a contrite Harvey Weinstein:
Weinstein pointed to several reasons why Grindhouse did so poorly in theaters over Easter weekend. “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. That would have been a better time. But the movies ran longer, the [fake] trailers ran longer, everything ran longer,” Harvey told me. Weinstein also criticized his own marketing plan. “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.” But he denies others’ thinking that the Grindhouse subject matter was too foreign for mainstream audiences in mainstream theaters. He’s wrong, of course.
The whole point of this exercise was TO DO IT CHEAP! The movie probably cost far more than the Weinsteins’ claim of $53 million. With total P & A costs the movie probably sneaks close to $100 million. What happened is what happens to all movie companies when name talent have the clout to hold their financeers for ransom. That is, the two directors spent beyond their budget because they wanted their movies to be as good as they could be. Performance anxiety trumps prudence. Rodriguez spent to make his trashy send-off of grade-B horror flix as gruesome as possible (he also melted down over the breakup of his marriage and the production had to shut down for a month; the Weinsteins ate that cost). And Tarantino shot and shot and shot to score the best possible car chase finale. Marrying those two movies into a digital internegative and final film print at the last possible minute wasn’t cheap either.
Look, we love Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarrantino — they’re part of OUR team. Thompson explains why Weinstein couldn’t turn down their 3 hour+ cut, but it’s obvious these two spirited auteurs can murder plenty of people onscreen, but when it comes to murdering their darlings, they just can’t pull the trigger. The movie will break even via foreign release and DVD, eventually, but that 3 hour running time was the killer coming from inside the Grindhouse.
In the meantime, enjoy Cameron Stewart’s renditions of some of the characters. (above and here.)