Weinsteins Turning on Fanboys with Revised Fanboys
We've all heard the term 'fanboy' tossed around at one time or another within various categories of obsessions. Probably the most well known usage is for those die-hard followers and fans of Star Wars. Admittedly, I'm not one of those people. But I do know well enough not to mess with them (e.g. cutting in line at a premiere, god forbid), and I certainly wouldn't fuck with a film titled after them. It seems the Weinstein Company isn't so cautious and apparently is materially altering the original concept of Kyle Newman's Fanboys, much to the dislike of many.
Fanboys was originally about a fictitious group of devoted Star Wars fans who make their way to Skywalker Ranch in order to steal an early copy of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Such a pursuit sounds insane, sure; but they were doing it for their friend who was dying of cancer, and they wanted him to experience the movie before succumbing to his illness. The essence of the film is largely split between the funny, unique dedication of Star Wars fans and the bond of friendship. Sounds like a great, interesting, potentially hilarious flick, right? Most everyone that saw early cuts of director Kyle Newman's version thought so.
However, word comes recently from a variety of sources - most thoroughly Cinematical - that the original, inspiring plot is being taken in a very different direction by The Weinstein Company executives. Gone is the plot line concerning the ill friend, and in its place a forthright escapade of Star Wars fans who seek to steal the Episode I copy out of pure fanboy hunger. Kyle Newman, in fact, is no longer even director - a man who has almost become a hero among these legions of followers. In his place is Steve Brill (who directed Without a Paddle and wrote and directed Little Nicky), who managed a number of late-stage reshoots.
Erik Davis over at Cinematical reports:
"Apparently both versions were screened for test audiences – and the new version only tested two points higher than the old version… But since Weinstein had to justify the fact that they spent an extra $2 million on the re-shoots, they went with the newer, flashier [version]."
The reshot version now lacks the cancer storyline and includes "nudity, lots of F-bombs, the whole works." It seems the Weinsteins are now catering to a lower common denominator. Not only that, Davis' inside source claims there might have been plants in the test audience to artificially inflate the favorability of the new version. Shady!
Outwardly, it seems that the Weinstein Company may be a bit shy releasing a film that is so inside-joke Star Wars-centric that it's hollowing it out a bit for mass appeal. (But why do away with the cancer bit? That aspect of the story at least elevates it to an endearing one of friendship and support.) Of course, changing the script jettisons the to-date cult following of the film, and ensures the general public will only view this story through one mocking, comedic lens.
AICN has posted a letter from "a group of Star Wars fans" who state that they intend to boycott all of the company's films and "attack the Weinstein Company death star, even if it is a suicide mission." If those aren't fighting words… Not that I'm in support of the Weinsteins' new direction, but I'd love to see a massive costumed-up protest!