Hillary Clinton may be the Harvey Weinstein of politics, but Harvey Weinstein remains the, well, Harvey Weinstein of Indiewood. That Oscar mojo seems to be gone, but the man still knows how to grandly mistreat a film take “Fanboys,” that long-anticipated comedy about four “Star Wars” megafans who embark on a 1998 road trip to Skywalker Ranch, intending to break in, steal “The Phantom Menace” and become the first fans to have seen the film.
Written for fans, by fans, “Fanboys” was attracting buzz on the web and in the “Star Wars” community back in 2005, with early footage being shown to adoring crowds at Comic-Con. George Lucas gave it his blessing; Kevin Smith wanted a cameo. The Weinstein Company picked up “Fanboys” for an August 2007 release… which turned into a January 2008 release, which turned into no release date at all a cancer storyline was considered problematic, and there were reshoots with a different director “Drillbit Taylor”‘s Steven Brill. Word got out that two versions of the film, one de-illnessed and raunched up against the wishes of the original filmmakers, were being tested for audiences. According to the Hollywood Reporter: ” ‘Harvey feels it’s hard to market, especially with this cast,’ an insider said. ‘He wants to market to a more teen audience. The filmmakers wanted a dramedy along the vein of ‘Stand by Me.’ ‘”
It’s a familiar tale of woe for those who’ve tracked Weinstein’s tendencies to shelve and chop, but the “Star Wars” contingent has proven itself to be a force (hyuck!) to be reckoned with, and might even have Harvey on the run. Rallying behind the website Stop Darth Weinstein and threatening a boycott of all Weinstein Co. films including a planned protest at this week’s opening of the studio’s latest, “Superhero Movie,” not a feature that looks like it could stand up to much ire fans frightened the Weinstein Co. into responded yesterday. A press release assured that both versions of the film would be released on DVD, though nothing solid regarding a theatrical release was committed to.
Not enough for the people behind the site, who are planning on going through with protest, with two particular big locations in mind: The AMC Empire 25 in New York and the AMC Century City 15 in L.A. at 7pm on the 28th. Eric Kohn at Stream observes:
The case of Fanboys is ultimately a unique one, marking the evolution of the audience into something more powerful than it has ever been before. At SXSW, Four Eyed Monsters co-creator Susan Buice suggested, at a roundtable discussion hosted by Bside Entertainment, that “fans” no longer exist; they have been replaced by “peers.” Consumers now feel that they have the power to interact directly with their chosen mode of entertainment. In the case of Fanboys, these peers are creating their own personalized democracy. More power to ’em.
Wired has a feature on “Fanboys,” talking to screenwriter Ernie Cline about the power of fandom:
In 1993, a conversation at Gen Con, the convention for tabletop-game aficionados, devolved into a volley of quotes from the Arthurian spoof Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cline had a revelation: “I said to myself, I bet every person at Gen Con knows the movie by heart. I bet I could ask people to get up onstage and reenact it on the spot.’ And I was right.”
Cline hastily assembled an amateur cast to act out the entire film from memory. The impromptu performance drew huge crowds. It was instructive for Cline. “I learned that I could tap into this,” he says. “I could enlist other fans to assist in my insane ideas.”
[Photo: “Fanboys,” Weinstein Company/MGM, 2008]
+ Fans press Weinstein on ‘Fanboys’ (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Stop Darth Weinstein
+ Helping Fans with ‘Fanboys’ (Stream)
+ It’s a Wrap! Ernie Cline Has Written the Ultimate Star Wars Fan Movie (Wired)