While promoting his new book, Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash, the always talkative writer/director opened up his interactions with infamous producer Harvey Weinstein, who already had an unscrupulous reputation before his #MeToo reckoning in 2017. According to Smith’s book, Weinstein allegedly pulled Good Will Hunting out of theaters specifically to screw Robin Williams out of his back-end deal on the film, despite the fact that the acclaimed actor helped to clinch its box office success.
“It was doing incredibly well,” Smith told The Daily Beast‘s Marlow Stern. “And the deal that they’d made with Robin was a high-percentage first-dollar gross—a movie-star deal—and it was great, because instantly by putting Robin in the movie their pre-sales paid for the whole f*cking film.”
Good Will Hunting was doing so well, in fact, that it almost broke the $100 million barrier, which would result in paying Williams a larger cut, so Weinstein pulled the film to Smith’s surprise:
From what I remember, Robin’s split would be even greater and he’d get a bigger percentage if it crossed $100 million, so every dollar the movie made at the theatrical box office would have to be split—I’m not sure if it was a 50/50 split—with Robin Williams. I was on the movie as a co-executive producer, so we were privy to some details, and I remember the day 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?” And they 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 greed.
Smith also made it a point to distance himself from Weinstein, who made Clerks a success after buying it at Sundance. The Mallrats director was quick to shoot down the term “mentor” to describe their relationship.
“‘Mentor’ is a big word,” Smith said. “[George] Carlin and Stan Lee were mentors; Harvey was a guy that produced our movies.”
(Via The Daily Beast)