It turns out discarded producer Harvey Weinstein purposely cut short the cinema run of 1997’s Good Will Hunting in order to mess with Robin Williams’ career.
Long before his conviction for sex offences, Weinstein was just a notorious and overly powerful figure in Hollywood. And according to Good Will Hunting‘s executive producer Kevin Smith, that lust for power extended to pulling the film from theatres just as it was gaining Oscar traction.
As revealed in Smith’s new book, Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash, Weinstein was furious that Williams had negotiated a deal that would see him earn more of the film’s profits if it made over $100 million.
Smith alleged that Weinstein’s production company Miramax would have had to split the profits with Williams which prompted the producer to prevent the film from being shown in theatres in order to keep the majority of the box office earnings for himself. Way to kick an indie film on its way up.
“I remember when Good Will Hunting was leaving theaters and it felt weird because it was like, ‘Wait? There’s all this Oscar buzz, so why would you pull it if it was just making money?” Smith wrote.
“(Miramax and Weinstein) did it because keeping it in theaters meant that more of the money would go to Robin, whereas the moment it went to video the split wasn’t Robin-heavy. It was hamstrung because of greed.”
Much like when Lord of the Rings became a cultural touchstone despite his best efforts, Good Will Hunting did pretty well for itself despite Weinstein’s Machiavellian behaviour: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s film grossed $225 million in its original run, far exceeding its small $10 million budget.
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Harvey Weinstein was convicted of several sex offences last year and sentenced to 23 years in prison after many women came forward and accused him of sexual abuse.
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