Entourage last night offered a fairly brisk half-hour that balanced the science fiction of Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Turtle displaying palpable screen chemistry with a fairly easier-to-swallow story involving Vinnie getting fired by a Wolfgang Petersen-type on the set of the extremely timely Smoke Jumpers. As Ari desperately tries to get the director replaced, loyal assistant/stapler target Lloyd runs through a list of names, offering only commode-demolishing Zack and Miri director Kevin Smith as being available. The suggestion tees up another Ari sledgehammer—we won't give it away except to say Red Velvet gluttony is involved—which elicited this reaction from Smith on his message board:
Sure, Seth Rogen used to be heavier and hairier, but you shouldn't take that to mean he had no luck with women. While divulging his diet secrets to his Zack and Miri director Kevin Smith for Myspace's "Artist on Artist" series, Rogen rebutted the oft-heard critique that he's far too schlubby to pull Heigls and Bankses in real life. "I dated girls who were way hotter and outside of my range, always!" he protests, decrying the skinny minnies who would take their sexual frustrations out on his on-screen persona. Duly noted, Seth — let's just hope that extra girth you're losing doesn't hide Samson-esque powers. [Myspace]
Animal Magnetism: Seth Rogen's had to make some mainstream concessions to get in fighting shape for The Green Hornet, but they're nothing compared to how he responded to the threat of a Zack and Miri sex scene. "I shaved my back just in case," he told WENN. "I went fully bare, like a two year old. I was ready. I didn't want to be too real for the world. I don't think the world is too ready for a hairy back in a love scene." We'd make an easy Robin Williams joke here, but Rogen beat us to the punch: "Has there ever been a sex scene with Robin Williams? People don't want to see that. That would border on bestiality." [OK!]
The only words you'll hear more than "It's your fault" today at Weinstein Company HQ: "It could have been worse," the unofficial new TWC battle cry after Zack and Miri Make a Porno opened over the weekend to a disappointing $10.7 million. Indeed, it probably will be worse — Universal and Lionsgate accused the Weinsteins of inflating their gross by as much as a million dollars, and just for fun, another potential lawsuit threatens the brothers' follow-up this week. So who is to blame, anyway, and what's next?As director Kevin Smith told the LA Times today, "If [Zack and Miri] dies at the box office, I don't think we'll see another porn-related comedy for a long time." We have a better idea: Make all the porn comedies you want, just don't release them on Halloween behind a campaign featuring sanitized TV spots and stick figures of Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. While the latter star still remains a relatively unknown box-office quanity, Rogen has done nothing but open one R-rated comedy after another since last year. Zack and Miri, not so much: It's Rogen's worst opening by far, collecting less than a third of Knocked Up's $30.7 million draw in May '07 and contorting his agent into insisting Rogen doesn't need fellow UTA-er Judd Apatow behind him — as with Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express — to deliver a hit. Smith, meanwhile, probably won't even beat his opening for Clerks 2, triggering critics to ask how much demand — if any — remains for his digressive brand of raunch. But don't take our word for it: He anticipated it himself, pushing the script for his terrorism drama Red State during the press rounds for Zack and Miri. The Weinsteins didn't want it then and definitely won't take it now; their parting ways with the filmmaker (for now) has less to do with taste than insolvency, particularly with the backlog of films piling up next to the mop in their utility closet. It was fun while it lasted. Except the Jersey Girl part, of course, but they're over it.
The early returns on Zack and Miri Make A Porno aren't what Harvey Weinstein was hoping for. After fighting over how explicit the film's promotional materials and title could be, the Seth Rogen-Elizabeth Banks romantic comedy didn't explode at the box office this weekend. The film netted an underwhelming projected $10.6 million even after a really slow Friday night opening. It looks like all the free publicity and feel-good endings in the world couldn't turn a frog into an Apatovian prince.Apatow's R-rated fare usually does a decent job crossing over to younger audiences, and Smith may have been hoping that pattern would continue with so many recognizable actors from Judd's films in Zack and Miri. Parents may have been especially wary of their teens seeing a film with 'Porno' in the title. Even the dour Changeling might have more legs than Zack and Miri, as Nikki Finke argues. In any case, the film's gross so far is more in line with Smith's past results than Apatow's: even Forgetting Sarah Marshall brought in $17.7 million on its opening weekend. Good word of mouth could help, but the film hasn't been a critical favorite so far either. Update: That early estimate may be a tad high. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Kevin Smith wants what Judd Apatow has. Using elements of the New Jersey director's brilliant comedies Clerks and Chasing Amy, Apatow built a foul-mouthed comedy empire where Smith's films always fell short of major box-office success. As the film opens this weekend, does Zack and Miri Make a Porno belong to Kevin Smith, or Judd Apatow?From the moment The Weinstein Company logo opens on Kevin Smith's latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, there's considerable question as to whose film this exactly is. Does the film belong to Smith's pantheon of grungy comedies, or Judd Apatow's free range of Seth Rogen-based stoner adventure stories? You can't really tell by the supporting cast. As with all of these recent comedies, the familiar milieu of Zack and Miri is more designed to make the audience say, "Look, there's the guy from The Office! Look, there's the chick from that porn you showed me!" than to revel in the performances themselves. This is also true of the industry that is satirized in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
The Weinstein Co. has a few issues at the moment. Including—but not limited to!—the hasty departure of top executives; an ongoing struggle with Bravo over Project Runway, the company's strongest TV property; and a consistently weak outlook for Harvey Weinstein's myriad businesses. The one thing Weinstein's investors really have to look forward to is the possible success of the company's upcoming Kevin Smith/ Seth Rogen flick, Zack And Miri Make A Porno. But has the Weinstein Co. managed to screw up the film's prospects before it's even released? Last month the MPAA banned the movie's poster for being too raunchy. That was a huge red flag. The company responded by thumbing its nose with a cute little riff on the controversy, and continued on its merry way, marketing-wise. But ads for the film were still getting banned across the country. Now it seems to be sinking in that the very title of the movie could prevent it from being properly marketed and advertised, dooming it to box office failure:
· Brad Pitt and George Miller are teaming to adapt Homer's The Odyssey into a sci-fi opera, set in a futuristic world where Pitt's abs are the only sustainable fuel source. [Variety] · Will Ferrell will make his Broadway debut this January in the Adam McKay-directed You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W Bush. Look for opening night protests by Anonymous—a shadowy group comprised of one guy in a Guy Fawkes mask who sounds a lot like Chris Kattan chanting, "You stole my career!" [Variety] After the jump: How did McCain's visit to Letterman affect the ratings? Here's a hint: They went up!· Kevin Smith is hoping to make a $50 million sci-fi comedy, and the Weinsteins "have read part of the script and are interested." So that's where Harvey is! Securing funding on Venus. [THR] · McCain's Late Show appearance brought in the show's biggest ratings in three years: 6.5 million, to be precise, were hoping to see the first shaming-to-death of a presidential candidate in history. They were left disappointed. [Variety] · Opportunity Knocks—the Ashton Kutcher brainchild that brings the game show right to your upper-middle-class, suburban-white-family door!—has been pulled from ABC's schedule after three low-rated episodes. [TV Week]
Oh America, when will your bothersome Puritanism stop infringing on The Weinstein Co.'s movie marketing efforts? First the MPAA banned the poster for the upcoming Kevin Smith flick Zack and Miri Make a Porno, on the grounds that it was too blowjob-y. So they changed the poster to one featuring simple stick figures. Sorry, whores of Hollywood Babylon, that's not enough to protect our children!: Ads for the movie are being rejected across the nation! Boston ads drew complaints. Philly banned them altogether. And in Los Angeles, the dastardly marketing scheme is preventing children from understanding a baseball strategy in which a runner on third base breaks for home as the pitch is thrown and the batter simultaneously bunts, which can pay off in a run unless the batter misses the bunt, in which case it's almost surely an out at the plate:
We take back everything we've ever said about Harvey Weinstein's promotional strategy for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, from his and Kevin Smith's wholly manufactured MPAA RatingsGate to our in-house suspicion of those ridiculous stick-figure posters currently making the rounds. Even our cautious optimism about the film's red-band trailer is bolstered today by This is Not Sex, a new Mean Magazine video featuring stars Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen caught in various throes of orgasm, conversation and contortion by filmmaker Tony Kaye. Its refined lunacy speaks for itself, but seriously: Every major fall release should be so lucky as to have its leads hanged online for unlawful carnal knowledge — except for Changeling, of course, which has its own burger-centric Pitt/Jolie collaboration to help nudge it over the top. To each his own, but really: Hula-hoop climaxes? Cha. Ching. [Mean Magazine]
Click to viewBoomp3.com There comes a time in every big screen comedy movement to grow a bit and embrace its oncoming adulthood. To wit, frat pack pledge master Seth Rogen was spotted buying light beer at a Malibu grocery store on Sunday. When asked about his decision to go with the light beer, Rogen shrugged his shoulders and said that he’s at a point where he has to watch his weight and switching over to the lighter brews seemed like a good way to get started. Rogen said, “The beer pong tournaments are beginning to take a toll as well. It’s like two or four rounds and then I’m done. Maybe a lighter drink will help me out.” [Photo Credit: X17] *A Call To The Bullpen is a work of fiction. Although the pictures we use are most certainly real, Defamer does not purport that any of the incidents or quotations you see in this piece actually happened. Lighten up, people ... it's a joke.
The three-year distribution match made in the mildly optimistic spirit of convenience between MGM and the Weinstein Company was set to expire at the end of this year, but the Lion isn't waiting around to box up the furniture. A day after Kevin Smith's associates blogged that MGM had yanked its logo from the marketing materials for Zack and Miri Make a Porno — one of the few remaining titles it planned to distribute for the Weinsteins — new reports have surfaced saying that MGM has dumped everything but the Sam Jackson/Bernie Mac effort Soul Men back on Harvey's lap. And yes, that includes The Reader, which Harvey wants for Dec. 12 despite his mortal mogul Scott Rudin's insistence otherwise. Gasp! What now?It's fairly speculative for now, with MGM reportedly acknowledging the break-up to The Business Sheet and TWC staffers cranking the Muzak lest they hear the press ringing their phone ringing off the hook. (Or, more officially, Weinstein reps were not available for comment.) What we do know is that Harvey isn't capitalized enough to market and distribute Porno, The Reader and any of the five films in between — The Road, Killshot (a recent shelf-rescue capitalizing on star Mickey Rourke's Wrestler buzz), Fanboys, Crossing Over and Shanghai — without some outside help. And that's not counting the putative Oscar campaigns planned for at least The Road and The Reader, the latter of which film's embattled '08 release (it's not even finished, for Christ's sake) is looking decreasingly likely by the day. We're also tempted to wonder what kind of hand Rudin might have had in pulling MGM's plug, but let's face it: He's too busy for sabotage, and the fraught MGM/TWC relationship didn't need him to push it over the cliff when Harry Sloan and Harvey were disintegrating just fine by themselves. Moreover, MGM has its own December delivery to worry about with UA's bumped-up Valkyrie — even more potential awards-season fodder (or so it hopes) that didn't need competition from Kate Winslet's own WWII Nazi drama. And its not like these were blockbusters; MGM did all right collecting its cut from joint releases like the $70 million sleeper 1408, but what does it lose hacking off The Road or Zack and Miri — an R-rated comedy with stick figures on the poster — at the knees? Answers are forthcoming, believe us. For know, all we really know for sure is that this totally screws up our bold prediction for Harvey's return to supremacy.
The original movie poster for the new Kevin Smith flick, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, was banned by the MPAA earlier this month because it conjured the terrifying image of Seth Rogen receiving a b.j., which is not safe for kids or anyone else. Now the new version of the poster (pictured) is out: the old "so hot you have to see it for yourself" trick. They still face the problem of having "titillating" and "Seth Rogen" in the same sentence, though. There's no way out. Click through to relive the magic of the banned original, if you like:
With most of the industry having seen what it came for and Jeremy Piven having released his date(s) back into the Canadian wild, the 2008 Toronto Film Festival is all but over. But, as befits the event's stature, the whirlwind since our last Toronto Hell round-up deserves a closer look — from the Paris Hilton doc you'll never see again to Kevin Smith literally keeping Zack and Miri's shit together, enjoy the news others traveled thousands of miles for from the comfort of your own industrial slave galley: · Paris, Not France premiered Tuesday night, with its subject in attendance as promised and with a letter from its beleaguered sales agent reportedly making the rounds beforehand:
The MPAA, the cabal charged with protecting American decency through movie regulation, has banned a promo poster for the upcoming Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen flick Zack And Miri Make A Porno, just before its debut in Toronto. Too blowjob-y. Considering the film's title, the only surprise is that the poster was so bland. But not bland enough! Now the forbidden ad will be seen only in Canada, as well as on dozens and dozens of websites, including this one: