Your Weekend at the Movies Released by the Weinsteins to Win a Bet

06/01/2012 10:38 AM |


Snow White and the Huntsman: And with that, our rollercoaster year of only seeing movies about Snow White draws to a close. Now we have nothing to do until Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner kick off the Hansel and Gretel craze of 2013. Fun fact: when I misheard a Snow White and the Huntsman character who I think is actually named Greta referred to as “Gretel,” I briefly got excited that this movie was going to roll in some other fairy-tale characters into its fairly belabored (if handsome) retelling of the Snow White story. It was not to be. Then I felt sort of silly for wishing something out of ABC’s Once Upon a Time would happen in this movie, but there we are.

Chris Zylka, who played Thor in Gregg Arakis KABOOM!, is in this movie, a fact which Im told may interest some of you.

  • Chris Zylka, who played Thor in Gregg Araki’s KABOOM!, is in this movie, a fact which I’m told may interest some of you.

Piranha 3DD: Sometimes it feels like the Weinstein Brothers are making and releasing movies on a bet. When their first 3D redo of Piranha came out in 2010, it wasn’t exactly a sensation, even by horror standards: it did a mildly respectable $25 million and garnered maybe half a weekend’s worth of late-summer can-you-believe-this buzz, owing mostly to a grab-bag cast (Adam Scott! Elisabeth Shue! Ving Rhames! Christopher Lloyd! [Jessica Szohr! –Ed.]) and Alexandre Aja’s over-the-top-of-the-top use of a crummy 3D conversion to emphasize breasts, insane gore, and one severed penis. So, fair enough: another mild cash infusion for the Weinsteins. But as if refusing to believe the movie didn’t catch on in a bigger way, the Weinstein Company announced a sequel, which seems only a step or two above deciding the public was clamoring for a Drive Angry sequel (and I say this as a fan of Drive Angry). An initial Thanksgiving 2011 release date came and went with little sign that Piranha 3DD actually existed, beyond some rumblings that Lloyd and Rhames—eaten in the first movie, or so it would appear—would be back. Now it’s actually coming out on fewer than 100 screens nationwide, including the AMC-Loews complex in the East Village (not exactly a prestige run), the kind of release usually afforded to hastily shot and shelved Nic Cage thrillers before a DVD premiere.

As such, it’s difficult for me to avoid imagining one or more Weinsteins chomping on a breakfast cigar the morning after the first movie’s totally ok $10 million opening weekend, taking offense when a dining companion implies that the company was lucky to get out with that much. One or more Weinsteins (Bob’s the horror guy, but come on, probably Harvey) bangs his fist on the table and says not only that, they’ll call the next one Piranha 3DD and make another mint! The dining companion says, come on, just because you have $10 million in the bank and the perfect exploitation-movie title doesn’t mean you’re really gonna put a sequel out in theaters; maybe you’ll get a direct-to-Blu-Ray-3D installment out and make some extra cash that way, but that’s it. Weinstein says, like hell I won’t! And bets his dining companion $200 (or pay-cable rights to one of the fifteen movies sitting on the TWC shelves, bettor’s choice) that he will, goddammit, make Piranha 3DD and release it in real movie theaters. I would call this “doubling down,” but as in most instances of that phrase’s use lately, it’s not, really, because Piranha 3DD almost certainly cost far less than the already cheap original, and to double down he’d have to at least release it on 5,000 screens instead of the original’s 2,500. In any case, this is the only origin story for the cursory theatrical release of Piranha 3DD that I can believe or accept.