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SUNDANCE: Kevin Smith Launches Two-and-a-Half Hour 'Red State' Twitter Rant

Kevin Smith
Mark Mainz/Getty Images for AFI

He defends his decision to distribute his own movie; says he got tired of making films at next to nothing only to see "folks spend more to market it."

Filmmaker Kevin Smith went on a two-and-a-half-hour Twitter rant Monday, defending his decision to handle distribution for his religious horror film Red State.

In the profanity-laced messages, he denied that he misled distributors at a Sundance screening Sunday night when he promised to auction off his $4 million movie after its premiere, only to buy it himself for $20.   "In the Tweet that launched a thousand angry bloggers, I VERY specifically said "... I plan to pick my distributor in the room — auction style..." Then, EVERYONE ELSE said I was selling the movie. But I never said that. Very specific wording," his message began.  Todd McCarthy reviews Red State.   The film officially opens Oct. 19, but it will kick off a U.S. tour, beginning March 4 at Radio City Music Hall in NYC (12 other dates also have been scheduled). Kevin Smith announces Red State tour dates.   Smith Tweeted that he is "just reaching back to an old model from Hollywood's glory days: we're taking our show on the road. "GONE WITH THE WIND (which this movie certainly ain't) didn't open on 2600 screens; it opened on one. And played there for awhile. Then packed up & moved to another screen in another city to play there for awhile. We're compressing that process, of course, doing only one screening per night on the tour, but it's their idea, not mine.   "Taking our show on the road isn't a new idea," Smith wrote. "I've taken all of my movies on the road for promotional tours. Only difference is, this time around, we're charging for tickets. And if that price is too high for you, don't worry: you'll be able to see the flick for a lot less on October 19th. But with this tour, our aim is to get financially whole. I want to use actual, recognizable math on our little $4mil flick. Once we clear $4mil (off the tours, the merch, the ViewAskew Garage Sale), we're able to give our investors their money back. So long as we don't spend on marketing, every penny after that becomes profit. No more of this "The movie cost $4mil to make but needs to earn $50mil at the box office to break even." That ALWAYS bugged me: I'd got out of my way to make flicks for as little as possible, then watch folks spend more to market it. But that's how the business works: EVERYBODY does that. It is the standard. And I've done it, too; for 9 films now. So after doing it the same way for 9 times, you start to think about how you'd do it differently: is it possible to sell a flick WITHOUT spending any of that money?"   Despite backlash after his Red State screening, Smith says he is enjoying his time at Sundance. His highlight: "Talking to Bob Weinstein at the party after the screening," Smith Tweeted. “He loved [the film]; said really nice things about me as a director … It was like being recognized as an adult by your Dad.”   Read more of his rant here.