Imagine you are helming your first motion picture. You get all the way to Sundance, and people love it. But if you film was acquired by Harvey Weinstein, then it might not be the end of you story.
Todd Field has one of the most interesting paths to success. He was a journeyman who almost quit the film business until Stanley Kubrick saw a play he was in and cast him in Eyes Wide Shut. There, he met Tom Cruise, who took a liking to him and said, “You’re going to make movies.”
After premiering at Sundance, Weinstein bought the rights via Miramax. Field was immediately worried because Weinstein was known for recutting movies at his whim. He called up Tom Cruise for some advice.
'In the Bedroom'Credit: Miramax FilmsField recounted this experience to The New Yorker, saying, “I was weeping in the bathroom... I called up Tom Cruise and said, ‘Something terrible has happened.’ He basically said, ‘This is how you’re going to play it. It’s going to take you six months, and you’ll beat him, but you have to do exactly what I’m going to tell you to do, step by step.’”
So, what was Tom Cruise's plan? Basically, let Weinstein cut the movie to shreds. Then, let him show it to audiences for test screenings, where it will undoubtedly do poorly. Once that happens, confront him with the rave reviews they got out of Sundance and let him think he's making the bold choice to release the movie as it was shown there.
That strategy worked right away, and paid off for all entities involved. Not only did In the Bedroom gross $40+ million on a $1.7 million budget, but it was nominated for several Academy Awards.
So if you ever find yourself in s similar situation, just follow Tom Cruise's advice.
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Source: The New Yorker