Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by David Chen
Kevin Smith’s Cop Out was not treated kindly by critics, which led many to accuse Smith of simply taking the director gig for an easy payday. Recently, Smith addressed those accusations via his Twitter account. Hit the jump to learn why he took a pay cut to make Cop Out.
Smith tweets in non-stop, stream-of-consciousness, so I’ve aggregated his tweets here in chronological order for easy reading. The following tweets were taken from Smith’s Twitter account on January 1st and January 2nd, 2011. In them, Smith explains the extent of the pay cut he took to make Cop Out:
Via @doubleplusgeoff “you’d do a lot for your credibility if you’d just come right out & say that CopOut was a ‘gettin paid’ movie” I wish I could. But I actually took an 84% pay cut to make #CopOut – because I wanted to work with BruceWillis. Lots of us did. Tracy got paid more than me, but not much. I also gave BACK half my already-way-less salary to get the film green-lit: there was a budget crunch to get to the $35million the studio wanted, so Marc Platt & I each gave up half our salaries IN ADDITION to the big dip in our quotes we’d agreed to. When all was said & done, we came in way under budget. Final cost: $32mil – $3mil less than we were allotted. Contractually, WB didn’t have to give me the money I gave up until they were in the black, but since we came in under budget, they cut me a check for the re-investment I’d made BEFORE the flick hit theaters. And even then, I still made 80% less than I did on my previous flick. I made MORE as the director of DOGMA in 1998 than I did as the director of COP OUT in 2009/2010. So please: enough with the “you musta got PAID” bullshit. I didn’t. Both my agent & my lawyer were like “Don’t do this. You can get paid more making a Kevin Smith movie.”
Smith also sees the Cop Out as crucial to the making of Red State, a calculus which makes a certain amount of sense. He continues:
But I knew if I wanted to make RedState, I had to make CopOut. There were things I needed to learn, and I learned them – while making a financially responsible buddy cop homage for a major studio, from a script I didn’t write. I’m sorry you didn’t like CopOut; feel free to skip RedState if you feel betrayed in some way. But to suggest I did #CopOut for the money is ludicrous – as it was the least I’ve been paid to direct a film since 1998 – 11 years prior. CopOut may not fit into your KevinSmith narrative, but I know where my story goes – and it was the keystone to everything that RedState is.
Smith ended the discussion by delivering an important life lesson:
We don’t live in STAR WARS, kid. Motivations aren’t always as simple & clear as “The Empire is bad! Save the galaxy!” You may not understand why I do what I do, and that must frustrate you. But in a couple years, it’s all gonna make sense. And by the time it does, you won’t care anymore anyway. But at least I’ll have the record of this exchange; that and it’s one more question I won’t have to answer again. So thanks.
Now we have a record too. It’ll be interesting to see where Smith’s career is in a few years, and if it lives up to what he’s describing here.