EXCLUSIVE: Watching the sausage being made when it comes to major studio laughers isn’t pretty. So here’s a very typical example. Ever since shooting began on the threequel in the lucrative franchise, Universal has been trying to figure out how to improve its Little Fockers. At one point, replacing director Paul Weitz with producer-writer John Hamburg was contemplated early on and then rejected after Hamburg visited the set one weekend. That’s because everyone realized what a DGA mess this would result in. Plus, Adam Fogelson had just taken over as chairman and didn’t want to throw the already traumatized studio into a worse funk. So the decision was made to fix the movie in post. For about 4 to 5 weeks now, Weitz, Hamburg, Jay Roach, and Ben Stiller have been going through the footage. The good news is that they just decided that re-shoots aren’t needed. The not-so-good news is that they think a week of pickups with all the principal cast in September is required. Fortunately for the studio, the film is “dramatically under budget”, according to an insider. But even so it’s still a $100M film as contemplated. ”The last research screening on June 8th in Sherman Oaks scored great. 54% excellent, 85% total favorable, 73% definitely recommend. But it can be even better after working on it,” a studio exec told me diplomatically. Oh, puh-leeze. Considering that  Meet The Parents was a comedic classic, but its sequel Meet The Fockers was so godawful, I can only imagine how lousy Little Fockers must be at this point in the process before its December release.

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.

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