Harvey Weinstein has told Deadline Hollywood Daily‘s Nikki Finke that he’s “incredibly disappointed” with the piddly $11.6 million that Grindhouse brought in last weekend, and that he’s thinking about re-releasing the movie around the U.S. “in a couple of weeks” as two separate feature-length movies — Quentin Tarantino‘s Death Proof (only longer with deleted sex scenes put back in) and Robert Rodriguez‘s Planet Terror with extra stuff also. (Which is what the European release plan has been all along,)
“Quentin’s movie goes out first in competition at Cannes,” Weinstein told Finke. “He’ll do an extensive four to five month tour. And the trailer will be all Quentin’s. Then we’ll release Robert’s a couple of months later. By splitting it up, we’re going to do a hell of a lot better internationally than we did here.”
Weinstein added that even in Grindhouse‘s TV deal with Starz Entertainment Group, it’s been sold as two separate movies. “Our deal with Encore is that they can play it any way they want.”
Weinstein said that length and audience education issues were the main reasons why Grindhouse did so cruddily in theaters last weekend.
“Our research showed the length kept people away,” he said. “It was 3 hours and 12 minutes long. We originally intended to get it all in in 2 hours, 30 minutes. That would have been a better time. But the movies ran longer, the [fake] trailers ran longer, everything ran longer. [Plus] we didn’t educate the South or Midwest. In the West and the East, the movie played well. It played well in strong urban settings. But we missed the boat on the Midwest and the South.”
“Educate the south and midwest” about how cool it is to savor the brash cheesiness of exploitation moves from the ’60s and ’70s? You can’t just explain the too-cool-for-school appeal of Grindhouse and expect people to go, “We get it! Thanks for wising us up!” People go for this or that movie for their own reasons. You can’t educate them into “getting” something. Either it reaches them on their own terms or it doesn’t.