Faced with its target audience demographic boycotting the studio’s product en masse, The Weinstein Company has changed in its plans for the comedy “Fanboys”.
The film follows four diehard “Star Wars” fans who break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in order to see “The Phantom Menace” on the eve of its release. Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell and Dan Fogler star.
Finishing production two years ago, the filmmakers and Harvey Weinstein have been in a fierce struggle over competing versions of the film. The fight came down to intent – the original point of the break-in is because one of the characters is facing cancer and would not live to see ‘Phantom’ in theatres.
The filmmakers wanted that ‘comedy with heart’, whereas Weinstein wanted more of a teen comedy. So, Harvey hired Producer Shauna Robertson to oversee a $2 million reshoot of four scenes by director Steve Brill (“Drillbit Taylor”) which, combined with re-editing, created a version that excised the cancer subplot.
Test screenings yielded a minuscule win for the noncancer version, but the producers and real life fanboys were only emboldened by that response. Since then an estimated 300,000 e-mails have pured into the Weinstein Company’s offices.
Now the Weinstein’s have partially conceeded, the company telling The Hollywood Reporter that it will release the two versions on DVD and is “exploring two theatrical versions”. The film still has no release date, only a promise that both versions will be available on disc.
Producer Kevin Mann puts the backdown due to “avoiding picket lines at ‘Superhero’ [Movie] than it was about making a decision about the release of our movie. “Star Wars” fanboy groups remain similarly sceptical and unmoved.