Whenever genre fans see the name “Weinstein” tied to a movie that looks fun and exciting, their stomachs do a slow flip. Harvey Weinstein has a richly earned nickname, “Harvey Scissorhands”, due to the politics of the studios he runs. And it looks like his latest victim will be Snowpiercer.
Why? Because Harvey thinks people in Iowa and Oklahoma are too dumb to figure out a movie about people fighting on a train. According to TwitchFilm, that’s what The Weinstein Company told the filmmaker:
The Sci-Fi blockbuster has received overwhelmingly positive reviews…and is currently smashing box office records following its release six days ago in its native Korea. So why does Weinstein want to cut it? According to film critic and programmer Tony Rayns “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.'”
Keep in mind, it’s gotten rave reviews from Western critics, and furthermore, The Weinstein Company has relatively little financial exposure here: It didn’t produce the movie, it’s just distributing Snowpiercer in English speaking territories, and it didn’t even pay a lot for that, relative to the likely success of the film, which stars Chris Evans, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, and is 80% in English.
This is far from the first time a Weinstein company has decided it knows better than a genre filmmaker; when Miramax got the rights to Princess Mononoke, it demanded that it be dubbed. Weinstein Company head Harvey Weinstein will argue that he’s doing it for the “financial good” of the film, like he always does. But more often than not, these decisions wind up alienating the people movies like Snowpiercer need; nerds who will see it opening day and rave about it to their friends.
Is there a way to stop the slashing of Harvey Scissorhands? Sure; you can drop the Weinstein Company a line on their Facebook or their Twitter. In fact, if you’re from Iowa or Oklahoma, we recommend you do just that. After all, isn’t it important a distributor fully understand the needs of its audience?