Movies traditionally are released in theaters on Wednesdays and Fridays, but come Monday, April 20, “4/20” the movie will be released on Vimeo on the date that’s considered a perennial stoner holiday — it has even greater significance this month seeing as the year is 2020.
Producer Corey Moss, a veteran of MTV and management company Principato-Young, says the film is taking its lead from “Super Troopers 2,” which opened on April 20, 2018, and went on to gross $18.4 million at the U.S. box office. “Whoever picked that release date was brilliant,” he says. “Back then, we jokingly said we should make a weed movie for next year’s 4/20. Then we jokingly said we should call it 4/20. Then we jokingly said it should be like ‘Love Actually’ or the Garry Marshall holiday movies, with multiple storylines that interweave.”
Actually, “4/20” has more in common with Kevin Smith’s stoner classic “Clerks” and Netflix’s series “Disjointed.” It’s about a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary that has few customers. The owners hope 4/20 will drum up some new business. The multiple storylines include a group of minors who conspire to make a purchase, a couple that argues about the pros and cons of cannabis and a new magical strain of weed.
As Moss explains: “We pitched it around a bit and everybody said we could never get an expensive weed comedy made without Seth Rogen. So we went to Seth Rogen, who passed. Fortunately, my partner Brad T. Gottfred and I have spent the past couple years building out a model of micro-budget features that are primarily single-location. We felt like we could apply those learnings to 4/20 and we went back and reset the movie entirely in and around a dispensary.”
Both Moss and Gottfred worked on the TV show “The Boonies,” Gottfred as writer and director. They tapped Noah Applebaum and Terri Jane, the team behind “Love & Other Drugs,” to helm “4/20.”
“We wanted to find the face of the next generation, rather than just go to Snoop or Cheech and Chong,” Moss says about the film’s relatively unknown cast that includes cameos from Richard Riehle (“Office Space”), Joey Bragg (“The Outfield”), former Dallas Cowboys lineman David Irving and NOFX guitarist El Hefe.
A fan of “Billy Madison” and “anything with Dave Chappelle,” Moss says: “It was important for us not to make just another stoner comedy about a wild chase to score some weed, although I do think we pay tribute to that a bit. The message in our movie is that marijuana brings people together, no matter your age, race or even if you are a smoker or not. And coming together is important because there’s strength in numbers.”