The on-going saga of “Fanboys” continued this week when the Weinstein Company announced that it would release both versions of the film on DVD. However, the long-awaited film still hasn’t seen the light of day at the box-office, despite numerous delays and an enforced re-shoot by the Weinstein Company.
The film was initially produced by Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street and featured a slate of up and coming young actors including Kirsten Bell, Seth Rogan and Jay Baruchel. The initial script made the Hollywood Black List as one of the top 40 projects in town when it began shooting.
“Fanboys” was initally set to be a story of a road-trip undertaken by several friends to break into the Skywalker Ranch and let a dying friend see a cut of “The Phantom Menance.” The initial shoot finished and footage was taken to several fan conventions where it met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Reports and word of mouth began to circulate on-line, including several reports here at Slice of SciFi, generating buzz and anticipation for the film.
Everything appeared to be lining up for release last year when the Weinstein Company picked up the movie for distribution.
And that’s where things started to go wrong for “Fanboys.” Studio exec Harvey Weinstein was discouraged by initial test screenings of the film and ordered extensive reshoots of the film, including the dropping of the friend dying of cancer storyline.
Producer Kevin Mann told the Hollywood Reporter, “The original reason we wanted to get involved with this script was because it was a comedy with heart. In my opinion, when the cancer was taken out, the heart went with it.”
Mann and director Kyle Newman refused to take part in the reshoots, leading Weinstein to hire another, outside director to complete the vision of the film he wanted. Initial test screenings of the film didn’t generate higher audience appreciation figures and in the meantime, the Weinstein Company had a bigger problem on their hands….
“Star Wars” fans
The rabid fan community for George Lucas’ “galaxy far, far away” caught wind of the re-writes and re-shoots and began a grassroots campaign to restore “Fanboys” to its original vision. Fan group the 501st created a web-site lampooning Weinstein, referring to him as Darth Harvey and letting fans know of the on-going news. The group had planned a bi-coastal protest for the opening of Weinstein Company’s “Superhero Movie” this weekend. That news more than anything else may have caught Weinstein’s attention and led to the news that “Fanboys” will hit DVD with both version.
“This is more about avoiding picket lines at ‘Superhero’ than it was about making a decision about the release of our movie,” said Mann.
But the question still remains–which version will the studio release in theaters?
“Harvey feels it’s hard to market, especially with this cast,” an insider at Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter. “He wants to market to a more teen audience. The filmmakers wanted a dramedy along the vein of the popular 1986 Rob Reiner flick ‘Stand by Me.’ ”
Some speculate that given that Weinstein poured $2 million into the re-shoot that is the version that will be seen in theaters. Others, including Ain’t It Cool News‘ Quint, speculate that there could be two versions released theatrically. One to appeal to the teen audience that Weinstein wants with a PG-13 rating and an R-rated original version to appease the grass-roots fan who want to see the original version.
As of now, the only news is that fans will get both versions on DVD, though no word yet on if this will be a two-disc set or the studio will double-dip and release each version separately.
A release date for “Fanboys” has yet to be determined.