Exactly one year ago, Kevin Smith was here at Sundance to premiere and hold a distributor auction for Red State. It turned out to be a sham, and Smith pulled a crowd of Jets fans out of the AFC title game only to subject them to a foul-mouthed harangue about how their movie business model sucked before selling the movie to himself for $20. Now, Smith has come in from the cold to announce he’s made a distribution deal with Phase 4. He actually had Lionsgate help out with ancillaries on Red State, so he already had stopped going totally commando. Here’s the release:
Park City, UT (January 23, 2012) – Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films, announced today that the company has entered into an exclusive distribution deal with SModcast Pictures, the production company founded and run by filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Red State). Through the deal, Phase 4 obtains exclusive rights in the U.S. and Canada to exhibit and distribute up to twelve films per year under the newly created “Kevin Smith and SModcast Pictures Presents” label. Phase 4 will release four of these films theatrically each year, which will include a live tour with Kevin Smith, similar to that of Red State, with the remainder of films being released via all other traditional and digital platforms.
Kevin Smith is such a publicity whore that he doesn’t care how he gets press these days, even when it means telling old stories trashing his former mentor who in 1994 bought Clerks. ”I open the curtain at the back and I see Harvey outside, talking,” Smith tells UK’s The Guardian today, recalling the premiere of his movie Red State at the Sundance festival. ”He’s talking about the Jets. Loud as fuck. The opening of my movie, first seven minutes. Old Kev just would have gone, ‘Harvey, shh, movie’s on.’ But it disgusted me so much. It doesn’t get much more heartbreaking. So I fuckin’ lost it, and I went out and said, ‘Hey. Shut the fuck up!’ And he looked at me with fuckin’ hate in his eyes. And I said, ‘Yeah. That’s me and I’m saying it.’ And he just left.” Little wonder that The Weinstein Co passed on the script — even though Smith’s production company to make Red State was named The Harvey Boys.
Lionsgate is teaming with Kevin Smith’s SModcast Pictures to distribute Smith’s thriller Red State, the movie starring Melissa Leo and John Goodman that the director purchased theatrical rights to at Sundance earlier this by paying himself $20 at the end of a bogus auction for buyers (the film has made about $1 million from 15 single-show engagements as Smith shows it around the country). Under terms of the new deal, Lionsgate obtains rights to distribute the title on all packaged media, video on demand, subscription video on demand, electronic sell-through and TV in the US, while SModcast retains theatrical rights. The film is scheduled to be released on multiple platforms in September followed by packaged media before year’s end. Red State revolves around a group of teens in Middle America who receive an online invitation for sex but soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.
Kevin Smith lost some cred with indie distributors last night when he hosed the teams that came to the premiere of Red State looking for an acquisitions title. Instead, they were subjected to a bogus auction that opened and closed with his $20 bid and announcement he would self distribute. Before he got to this sham climax, Smith spent 15 minutes shitting all over those buyers in the crowd, the ones watching films all day and pulling all-nighters to broker deals. His rant made Smith seem like a tortured, angry guy.
Smith introduced the film with a vulgar opening monologue, low-lighted by a spectacularly tasteless joke made at the expense of the young female producer standing next to him. After the movie, Smith reappeared. Wearing a hockey jersey, he introduced Wayne Gretzky’s stick, for some reason. Despite this hockey-themed beginning, Smith was oblivious to the fact we all simply wanted him to drop the puck and get on with the auction. Instead, Smith launched into his 15-minute long diatribe that betrayed a misunderstanding of the indie theatrical distribution game. He gave a simplistic and incorrect evaluation of the business model. Smith said if he sold his $4 million Red State, a distributor would need to pay $20 million in P&A, and would then need to gross more than twice that $24 million just to recoup (Smith seemed to forget that … Read More »
Kevin Smith is already challenging established acquisition protocol by trying to auction distribution rights in the Eccles Theater right after Sunday’s Sundance premiere of Red State. Some buyers say that gimmicky play isn’t what’s annoying them most. They’re especially peeved that the film’s 6:30 start coincides with what will likely be the beginning of the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. A lot of indie distribution executives hail from New York and New Jersey (as does Smith), and they’ve waited a long time to see the Jets get into a Super Bowl. How’s that for bad timing?