The film, a comedy about a group of Star Wars fans who drive cross-country in 1998 to break into George Lucas‘ Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see The Phantom Menace, has been something of a legend in Star Wars circles for years — and with a cast that includes Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen, and Dan Fogler, a person could be forgiven for assuming The Weinstein Company would want to get it into theaters as soon as possible.
But no. As popular legend has it, Harvey Weinstein was troubled by…well, the film’s basic storyline, really. Let’s let The Hollywood Reporter lay it all out:
Insiders said the root of the problem was Weinstein’s issue with the underlying story in “Fanboys.” The cross-country adventure is put in motion because one of the characters is facing cancer. Late last year, the company decided it would do reshoots, hiring Judd Apatow‘s producing partner Shauna Robertson to oversee a $2 million reshoot of four scenes done by director Steve Brill (“Drillbit Taylor“). That, combined with re-editing, created a version that excised the cancer subplot.
One “insider” goes on to tell the Reporter that “Harvey feels it’s hard to market, especially with this cast,” which totally makes perfect sense; everyone in Hollywood knows that the last thing you want when marketing a film is a bunch of young, up-and-coming stars. Whatever the reasons, and whatever happened behind the scenes, one thing’s for certain: Fanboys‘ original August 2007 release date came and went — and so did its new January 2008 release.
Yesterday, The Weinstein Company put an end to all the speculation, sort of, by announcing that both versions of the film will be released on DVD. Someday. Maybe after one or both versions are released to theaters. In their own words:
The Weinstein Company announced today that it plans to jointly release two versions of its highly anticipated film, “Fanboys,” on home video, with the Company exploring options for its theatrical release. In recent weeks, Star War fans nationwide have built a multi-tiered grassroots effort to voice their strong support for one of the earlier versions of the film, including a campaign which generated over 300,000 emails in support for the film. Based on the tremendous feedback and interest from the fans, today’s announcement will ensure both versions will be equally available within the marketplace.
At least one group of fans, the Weinstein-boycotting fanboy battalion that calls itself the 501st, was not impressed:
This is clearly a vain attempt by the Weinstein Co. to avert ‘Star Wars’ fans’ impending boycott of all of their films. It’s not going to work, Darth Weinstein. There was never any doubt that you would release both versions of the movie on DVD, probably months apart, so as to leech as much money from ‘Star Wars’ fans as possible. Our boycott will continue until the Weinstein Co. announces that they are returning control of ‘Fanboys’ to the ‘Star Wars’ fans who made it, releasing the original version in theaters and doing away with their anti-fan version of the film altogether.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter