Watch it here. It seems his decision to leave studios behind traces back to the advice his personal hero Wayne Gretzky got from his father/hockey teacher, Walter Gretzky – “Don’t go where the puck’s been, go where it’s gonna be” – and what he’s learned from 17 years in the business, particularly from Harvey Weinstein (“Never give up a good thing, hold onto it yourself”). He made Red State for $4 million, and the idea of selling it to a studio who would pour $20 million into marketing was “obscene” to him.You’ve read about Kevin Smith’s speech to those who screened his new film, Red State, at Sundance, the one in which instead of auctioning the film to a distributor live from the stage, he announced that he would use his fanbase, Twitter followers, podcast listeners, people skills (to cut deals directly with theater owners), and a road tour to release the movie himself.
“Why the f— does it cost five times the amount the cost of this movie to open the movie?” he said. That studio model is soul-crushing, he said: ”It took seven years for Clerks, a movie that cost $27,575 to go into profit. When that’s happening – when you’re spending four times, five times the amount to market a movie or open a movie than you are to make it – that’s not an inspiring game at all. No kid can get into it now. I look at the f—in’ film world now, and I’m like, there’s no way I would have tried. I wouldn’t try Clerks today because it’s impenetrable. Even if you’re lucky enough to make a movie, how the f– are you gonna open a movie? It takes so much f—in’ money and s—. So much time, effort. And everything is fetishized about that one f—in’ three days. They’ll spend $30, $40, $50 million just for three f—in’ days. I spent 25 days workin’ on this. I’m not gonna f—in’ sit there and bank everything on three days. Like, there’s no point.”
“True independence,” Smith said, “isn’t making a film and selling it to some jackass. True independence is schlepping that s— to the people yourself.” The Red State USA Tour kicks off March 5 at Radio City Music Hall. If they sell out their initial string of dates, Smith said they will have essentially made back half of their money already. The goal is to make back the budget by the time the film his theaters Oct. 19, the 17th anniversary of the theatrical release of his first film, Clerks. “We’re gonna play the game straight. We’re not gonna spend a f—in’ dime on marketing.”