Mike Fleming

In other Sundance news… The action on the Paul Rudd comedy My Idiot Brother began right after the premiere screening finished. The two parties chasing it hardest were Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company, with talk of a third bidder as well. The discussions were still taking shape around 2 AM, and the feeling was the film had a good shot to reach $5 million. Reaction to the film was that it was more heartfelt than broad comedy, and some of the players looking for a can’t miss wide release weren’t biting…

The unfortunate timing of Sunday’s Red State premiere –it starts right around the beginning of the fourth quarter of the New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers AFC Championship game created misunderstanding between director Kevin Smith and partner Jon Gordon over a football viewing party organized by Harvey Weinstein, but Harvey was quick to make it clear he was there to show love for the filmmaker he launched with Clerks. Smith and Gordon, who named their Harvey Boys banner for Weinstein, felt this way, according to an insider: “Kevin and Jon feel like the kids whose dad doesn’t show up for their baseball game because he went to a strip bar with the guys from the office instead.” Weinstein told me that despite the party, he never planned to miss Smith’s film. And brother Bob flew out to see it also. Harvey, a big Jets fan, explained, and took a shot at rival Steelers. “I never thought there would be a reason for the Steelers to even be on the field by halftime,” he told me. “I’d always planned to leave by the end of the first half to see Kevin’s movie.” Smith still plans to auction the film in front of the premiere audience, and if he walks out with a deal, it will be a welcome respite to all the other deals slow to close…

Sporting an outfit that looked a hybrid between black tie and a NASCAR driver’s uniform, director Morgan Spurlock had happily sold out as he mingled with the sponsors of his latest documentary. The film’s title was revealed after its premiere, and it takes the product placement theme to its ultimate conclusion. The film’s called POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, with POM putting up $1 million of a $1.5 million budget that came entirely from sponsorships that are all over the movie. Pic is a humorous docu based on an idea that grew in Spurlock’s mind after he watched an episode of Heroes, when Hayden Panetierre’s cheerleader character was gifted by her father a Nissan automobile. The blatant plug triggered Spurlock’s sponsorship campaign to mount a movie that, despite some unabashed whoring, delivers a message. Spurlock wore a black suit—designed by Ted Baker–that was embroidered with not only the film’s logo, but logos from numerous sponsors that included Jet Blue and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. They were among a litany of sponsors ranging from Sheetz Convenience Stores to Ban Deodorant that paid up. Brand reps, who saw the movie for the first time Saturday, took the stage at the film’s conclusion. Spurlock, who lacerated the fast food industry with Super Size Me, isn’t down on product placements at all. In an age where viewers fast forward through commercials, it is a necessary evil that “can be a way to empower artists,” he said. Oh, yeah, Spurlock said he will absolutely wear his sponsored suit to the Oscars if the film got a nomination…

Legendary low-budget producer producer Roger Corman had an army of vocal supporters cheering him during the midnight premiere of the Alex Stapleton-directed Corman’s World. Corman took the stage and showed he’s not slowing down. He’ll continue to explore the hybrid toothy creature genre that began with Sharktopus, prepping a new one called Piranhaconda. The crowd-pleasing documentary had a litany of Corman colleagues who regaled with tales of Roger’s passion for not spending money, and for blowing shit up. Among those giving humorous testimony: Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson—who actually became overcome and cried while expressing his love for the filmmaker…

While Sundance films have been slow to close, premiere tickets sure are selling. On Craigslist, there was a $100 asking price for a ticket to last night’s premiere of the Lee Tamahori-directed The Devil’s Double, about the man forced to become body double for Saddam Hussein’s brutal son Uday. Dominic Cooper plays both roles and his work is being hailed as a breakout performance, even though buyers tell me the torture and violence scenes are tough to watch.