Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What's Next For Grind House?

There's been a lot to-ing and fro-ing in the Weinstein camp over Grind House the last week or so. As everybody knows by now, the film was a massive flop - now playing to virtually empty houses less than two weeks before it went onto release. Pretty much straight off of the bat, word got around that the film was going to be split into two seperate features and rereleased. Geeks were not pleased.

And then, small voices started piping up. At various cinemas across the US, the film was either already being screened as two films, or as a double feature where an intermission replaced the fake trailers. Jo Blo reported on this, and did some investigating, coming to the unsurprising conclusion that these were test engagements, being used by the Weinsteins to plan a rerelease.

These tests flopped every bit as much as the initial plan, so it then broke that, actually, the split-release relaunch was nixed.

So what will be next for Grind House? I've been asking around, and this is what I've been told...

This Thursday, Death Proof is to be announced as part of this year's Cannes line-up. Some people are talking about the film's chances for awards, but there's not yet any indication it will be screening in competition. This version of the film will be the 'restored' version, with no missing reel and various other snips reinstated - expect it to run around eighteen minutes longer than the double-feature edit. And expect it to look gorgeous. And expect it to be received rapturously. A Grind House backlash backlash, maybe?

The Weinsteins know that Death Proof would have - and should have - done much better box office if released as a standalone 'New Tarantino Film' so (surprise, surprise) they're going to give that strategy a shot.

Riding on Cannes hype just a little, and with completely un-Grind House marketing, it seems that a scratch-free Death Proof will be arriving in the American multiplexes later this year. Not on a big scale, mind, but targeted carefully and, if everything goes to plan, in a very profitable fashion.

Planet Terror will next be seen on DVD. Despite a number of critics definitely preferring the run-and-gun fun of Rodriguez' installment to the typical Tarantino post-modern games, apparently the film just isn't being seen as worth the expense and effort to resuscitate.

I would suppose - and I'm just making an informed guess here - the big heap of DVD releases are likely to move out of the seasonal peak times, to avoid being lost amidst the more 'mainstream' releases. The Easter Weekend release can't be what killed the film stone dead in cinemas, not alone at least, but it has been blamed and that was probably enough.


Will said...

Hmm not looking good for the UK release then.

Isn't the problem in the US that they totally failed to market the film?

Brendon said...

There was Grind House everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

Maybe they simply mismarketed it.

Momentum are still planning a double feature in the UK, apparently.

will said...

Interesting. I've heard some say that they bottled the online campaign. (Which was of huge importance to 300s success). The film doesn't even have a myspace page!

Brendon said...

Honestly, Grind House was on everything it could be - magazines, TV, radio... hype, hype, hype. One of the most hyped films in months.

I don't know how much they bottled the online hype - missing out on a MySpace page was possibly a bad idea, though.

Anonymous said...

Nope, guys, the movie is evidence that even great filmmakers need to deliver a turkey once in a while (can I say FOUR ROOMS here?). RR's segment is repetitive, miscast, and way too long. QT's segment is redundant and simply boring. Download the trailers on YouTube and count your blessings.

Anonymous said...

I think it was mistrust from moviegoers. There have been several "we've made a bad film good" films in the last year that sucked. Look at Snakes on A Plane. Planet Terror reminded me a lot of Slither. Moviegoers thought they were being sold a bad bill of goods.
The perception of the film that I've seen on college campuses is that the film looked silly. And they weren't really that into cinema history, so didn't care what Grindhouses were. Which is sad because the film was a lot of fun. Though I think an October Halloween release would have done a lot for something like this.

Anonymous said...

The Weinsteins are beating a dead, rotting horse and saving face with their star QT. Do NOT act like this isn't the case. Word of mouth on Death Proof is so bad, I don't care if they release it with Smell-o-Vision, it's going to make $10mil max by itself, maxxx. The film did indeed have a MySpace - it was huge. This was discussed at length on AICN's talkbacks, go swimming to find the link if you must. Does anyone know how QT is reacting to his film being a flop? I haven't seen any post-flop interviews going around. And for that matter, RR? Also, how will this impact their relationship? As for Machete, RR should be very careful. The public is going to start equating his name with pure straight-to-DVD schlock.

Tom Dougherty said...

I love Grindhouse for the most part, but I found the Tarantino half to be a sometimes difficult slog, owing to his trademark self-indulgence and unusually poor pacing. During the scene where the girls talk over lunch in the diner, I nearly walked out. Badly acted by every woman there, every character spoke like a female Tarantino, discussing the merits of various Grindhouse movies of yore. That was excruciating. I don't know if most of these women are terrible actors, or if the dialog just was so bad it couldn't be read aloud. It's a QT backlash I'd worry about. There is no way to recut this film for a new release and make it better.

Rodriguez' and the trailers were top notch. Amazing work there. Go see this film and support this weird project.

Kamikaze Camel said...

But Tom, that's exactly what a lot of "grindhouse" films are. Bad actors talking about nothing for long periods of time followed by sex and violence.

You'll see Rod Zombie's The Devil's Rejects also featured some grindhouse stuff in it (the ice cream conversation especially).

To paraphrase, I think, Dave Poland - Death Proof was made by someone who grew up watching grindhouse movies. Planet Terror was made by someone who got told about grindhouse movies by a friend.