In the war between the Fanboys fanboys and the Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein has blinked. Well, sort of. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Weinstein Company has agreed to release both versions of Fanboys — the long-shelved comedy about Star Wars geeks featuring Kristen Bell (pictured) — on DVD. There’s the filmmakers’ cut, supported by the fans (who’ve seen only part of the film, screened at Comic-Con), which tells the story of four pals who travel to Skywalker Ranch in 1999 in the hopes of sneaking a screening of The Phantom Menace before one of the quartet succumbs to cancer. And there’s the Weinstein cut, which tested marginally better among general audiences, which excises the whole downer cancer subplot. When the fan community heard that the latter version was the one being released, they started an online protest, threatening to picket at this weekend’s release of the Weinsteins’ Superhero Movie, and to boycott all future Weinstein releases (well, except Kevin Smith’s movies, ‘cause he’s one of them).
Was it that threat, as well as the protesters’ jeering reference to Harvey as “Darth Weinstein,” that led the distributor to back down? (Hey, as nasty nicknames goes, “Darth Weinstein” beats “Harvey Scissorhands,” the name the indie mogul earned back in the ’90s at Miramax, where he had a reputation, deserved or not, for making similar draconian edits to art-house movies to make them more marketable.) For that matter, is it really backing down to agree to release the director’s cut on DVD — which is standard operating procedure these days — when there may not be a theatrical release in the first place? (Right now, Fanboys is without a multiplex release date.) Is there any irony in sci-fi/fantasy film fans demanding a grittier, more realistic movie? Do you have a dog (or a Wookiee) in this fight? I don’t (I’m finding it hard to root for either side here, or even care much about this whole fiasco), but I will offer this four-word warning about letting the fanboys dictate the content of a movie that hasn’t been finished yet: Snakes on a Plane.