Kevin Smith Says Harvey Weinstein Pulled “Good Will Hunting” Out Of Theaters Early To Mess With Robin Williams’ Money


October 27, 2021 / Posted by:

Kevin Smith just did an interview with The Daily Beast to promote his new book, “Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash.” Now, before you click away out of overwhelming disinterest, Kevin did drop some interesting tidbits.  He reveals that Harvey Weinstein pulled Good Will Hunting (1997) out of theaters early so star Robin Williams would get less money. Kevin, who was an executive producer on the film, explains that Miramax made a high-percentage first-dollar gross deal with Robin, aka a “movie-star deal.” The more money Good Will Hunting made in theaters, the bigger Robin’s split with the studio would be. So Harvey pulled the movie while it was still making big bucks and put it on video where “the split wasn’t Robin-heavy.” And I guess stars/screenwriters Matt Damon and Ben Affleck weren’t too pissed off, cuz they proceeded to work with Harvey approximately 12,000 more times.

Here’s Kevin’s full explanation of what went down, via The Daily Beast:

I remember they pulled that movie out of theaters while it was still earning at the time. It was doing incredibly well, 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 fucking film. So, the movie was paid for and then the movie was making money hand over fist and made over $100 million. 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.

The interviewer goes on to ask more about the Weinstein fuckery, and mentions that Harvey was somewhat of a mentor to Kevin. Kevin says that Harvey wasn’t his mentor, he was “a guy that produced our movies.” He says he usually only saw Harvey, “the screamiest person you’ve ever met in your life,” when he was pitching or test-screening films:

I saw his rage a lot, but to be fair, this wasn’t a guy we were around a lot. We were in Jersey when we were younger, and our movies didn’t make enough money for them to care that much about us. We were part of the Miramax stable, but Quentin [Tarantino] was their guy. Miramax was The House That Quentin Built.

Kevin adds that The Weinstein Company owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he’ll never see it because of a ruling where the company that currently holds all the assets of The Weinstein Company didn’t have to pay out any of their debts. Kevin says it’s not something he cares about because “money was never a big pursuit of mine.” 

Kevin also reveals that he coined the term Bennifer while working with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez on the set of Jersey Girl. When it wrapped he used it in an interview with the LA Times, and from there it exploded. Kevin says that most people out there, including Ben and Jen, are like, “Thanks, asshole.” Hey, I actually love stupid couple portmanteaus because they’re just so, so silly. So to Kevin, I give a super sincere: “Thanks, asshole!”


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