PARK CITY — In his latest stunt, helmer Kevin Smith played to a packed Sundance crowd following the preem of his pic “Red State,” telling auds he was going to self-distribute his $4 million project.
Giving the proverbial middle-finger to the Hollywood system, Smith’s producer, Jonathan Gordon, auctioned the film to Smith for a mere $20.
The event first was publicized as a “live auction” for buyers, but Smith told attendees at the Eccles here in Park City that the pic would be self-distributed through his Smodcast Pictures, despite pic’s producer Gordon previously insisting that wouldn’t be an option.
Attendees hoping for a live bidding war were left disappointed as Smith told the aud that he would begin a month-long tour with the religiously touted pic, starting by releasing the pic at Radio City Music Hall in Gotham on March 5.
Smith started by breaking down the math on the “indie model” revealing that “Red State” cost under just $4 million and saying “There’s what they call the Lionsgate $20 million in this business,” referring to the “ungodly” P&A spend it takes to open an indie through a studio.
“Why does it cost five times the amount [that it costs] to make a movie just to open a movie,” Smith told the aud.
He praised Harvey Weinstein (who was in the room, even though the film was never really going to be made available to buyers) for teaching him the truth about how companies like New Line and Fine Line pull off openings: “They just keep buying it.”
He then proceeded to do the math it would take a company like that to break even on “Red State,” saying it would cost $4 million to $6 million to buy the film, $20 million to market. Multiply that by two to cover exhibition, and suddenly you’re talking $20 million, he said.
The Eccles aud was reactive to the event, marking a true “indie Sundance moment.”
(Andrew Stewart contributed to this report.)