Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Interesting perspective on stoner flicks

Today's marks the release of Pineapple Express, a movie I've been looking forward to since I saw a leaked trailer of it back in March. I want to see it tonight, but I promised a friend I would wait until Friday so I could watch it with him (back in May when Indiana Jones was out I made the same promise and then couldn't resist seeing it a day earlier, so I owe him one). To pass the time until i see it, I've been reading up on some of the reviews and what not that have come out now that it is finally opening.

And in doing so, I stumbled on this interesting article from Entertainment Weekly back when the second Harold and Kumar was coming out about the evolution and popularization of stoner movies. The article goes into detail about how these pot-focused movies usually bomb at the box office, and then do tremendous once they hit DVD. An explanation courtesy of Jay Chandrasekhar:

''Pot movies don't do terribly well in theaters, and yet on video they're wildly out of proportion to the theatrical gross,'' says Jay Chandrasekhar, director of the weed-centered Super Troopers. His 2002 film made $18.5 million in theaters — and almost $80 million on DVD and pay TV. ''Our theory,'' he says, ''is that our audience is too stoned to leave the house.'' White Castle offers further proof. The film, which cost only $9 million to make, became a cult hit for the couch-bound. It has grossed more than $60 million in DVD rentals and sales. In short, says White Castle co-writer Jon Hurwitz, ''it's like printing money.'

But the big-money payoffs in the past hasn't translated into a big-money budget for Pineapple Express:

The next hurdle for ''stoner comedies,'' ironically, is to transcend that very label. Until now, these films have been made for a fraction of what comparable buddy comedies cost, because pot movies traditionally have a limited take at the box office. Even coming off Knocked Up and Superbad, Rogen couldn't catch a break from Sony on Pineapple Express. ''A $40 million [budget] would've been nice,'' he says. ''But because it's a weed movie, you get $25 million.''

If you've got time, I suggest reading the whole article. It's got some interesting stuff about how Cheech and Chong changed the entire genre. Oh yeah, I've been reading some reviews and other random articles and apparently the entire movie came to frution after Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow (the producer) watched the movie "True Romance" in which Brad Pitt plays a stoner. They thought it would be funny to make a movie based on that stoner leaving the house and going on an adventure. And from I've heard, James Franco is pretty brilliant as a drug dealer in Pineapple.

Brad Pitt as a stoner

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