A lot of pundits are slamming Kevin Smith for his bold ploy at the Sundance Film Festival. He staged a “public auction” of his film Red State, only to buy it himself to launch a new non-studio distribution system. If it works, this could be the next generation of how films get made and seen. Smith knows it’s going to rub people the wrong way, especially studio heads who were planning to bid on the film.
“Now we’re obviously not selling the movie so I’m sorry to a lot of the sugars in the room,” Smith said to the Sundance audience. “Some of the cats who are here, look, number one I’m not that sorry. It’s a f*ckin’ film festival. Come see a movie. Number two, you saw the movie, you can’t do anything with it but I know how to f*ckin’ sell this movie. I know how to market this movie, man. So no hard feelings.”
Starting out with a little contrition, Smith cut himself off and just went all out. “Hopefully, you don’t mind. Next time, we’ll sell you – - f*ck it, we’ll never sell you a movie. But thank you for coming. I’m sorry if you left the Jets game. I put a Twitter out where I was just like hey, man, I understand sports enthusiasm so if you feel the need to watch the Jets game and not the movie, no harm, no foul.”
Smith is betting it all on his new plan, which earned applause from filmmakers in the room and grumbles from established industry. “I will say this in my defense. A lot of you guys work for the studio and sh*t, the studios make movies, movies have a trailer. You guys have made a lot of trailers, you’ve lied to me many times. I’ve seen many trailers where I was like, ‘This is awesome.’ I put my money down, I was like, ‘You f*ckin’ lyin’ whores.’ So ladies and gentlemen, as you can see we’re up here alienating all our future work, just burnin’ the bridge as we cross it. That means there’s probably not going to be much studio help for me and Jon [Gordon, producer] in the future.”
This could be a boon for the exhibition industry. Currently studios give up high percentages of box office sales to the studios. “What we do need to release this movie, what anybody needs to release a movie is not a motherf*ckin’ studio. You need a god damn exhibitor so me and Jon are talking to any smart exhibitor partners out there who are willing to listen. Exhibitor partners, you want to get in bed with us. We’ll give you way better f*ckin’ terms than the studios and you know these motherf*ckers f*ck you constantly, man, constantly.”
While exposing the corruption of studio exhibition deals, Smith closed with a trademark self-deprecating joke. “We’ll give you more of the ticket on the first weekend than they ever f*ckin’ will and at the end of the day, we won’t screw you over for another [film]. We won’t be like, ‘Well, if you want Dark Knight you’ve got to take this piece of sh*t Cop Out.’ We don’t do sh*t like that.”
Red State goes on the road March 5 in anticipation of an October 19 opening release.