Filmmaker Uwe Boll once challenged his online detractors to a boxing match, but it wasn’t until now that the German director — often called the worst filmmaker of all time — finally became what he called “fighting mad.”
Boll’s new movie “Postal” — which features “shooting children, gags about September 11, a Nazi theme park, and Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush walking hand in hand into a mushroom cloud” — was slated to open this weekend against “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in more than 1,000 theaters. But within the last month it was pulled from all but a handful.
Now the film, which Boll is distributing through his company, will only be shown “in around 15″ theaters, he told MTV News (for an up-to-date list, check out the MTV Multiplayer Blog). And of the theaters showing it, “few are good,” Boll insisted. “For instance, it would be nice to have it screen in Manhattan, but we are only in Brooklyn. If that’s the only screen [on which it's playing] in New York, you can’t perform how you would perform because it’s just too far away [for people from Manhattan].
“It’s not like they’re so crowded, they don’t have screens,” Boll said of the sudden decision by exhibitors to dump his project. “Just yesterday, I was standing out in front of the Empire [Theater] in Times Square and they had ‘Vantage Point’ still running! ‘Harold and Kumar’ on two screens! ‘Nim’s Island!’ Nobody should tell me ‘Nim’s Island’ would do more business than ‘Postal.’ It makes no sense.”
Despite his inflammatory remarks on the “Postal” Web site earlier this week, Boll doesn’t think the disappearance of his film from multiplexes is a vast conspiracy or a personal attack, but rather a combination of what he calls overly sensitive “political correctness” coupled with a failure of his past movies to perform at the domestic box office. (Maybe Boll will have better luck with “Janjaweed,” his improvised movie about the Darfur massacre, which he talks about in the MTV Movies Blog.)
“Postal,” of course, will almost certainly tank as well. Forgetting for a moment that it’s opening against what’s sure to be the record-breaking “Indiana Jones,” “Postal” is only playing once or twice a day at the theaters in which it’s booked.
“We’re running in Austin only at midnight at the Alamo. How are you going to do box office if you’re not going to play five times a day?” Boll asked, pondering what are sure to be snide headlines come Tuesday morning. “[But] if we make $2,000 in an art-house screen in Denver, this is actually not a bad result.”
Boll insists that the unavailability of “Postal” means the real losers in this situation will be the audience — not because he thinks “Postal” is any good (although he does call it his “best film ever”), but because he sees it as the final nail in the coffin for independent cinema. Seriously.
“I think it gets to a point where only certain types of movies come out,” Boll said. “In the past, we had a few tent poles a year. Now it’s every weekend. You go from ‘Iron Man’ to ‘Speed Racer’ to ‘Narnia’ to ‘Indiana Jones.’ It gets redundant and boring. I think there are movies like mine that aren’t given a chance. They are never getting screens, and later you [wonder] how this movie could tank. It’s because they don’t promote these [types of] movies anymore. It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“The mission of a multiplex theater should not be that you have 20 screens and only four movies playing,” Boll added. “There is no space anymore for good independent movies. I don’t know where independent filmmaking goes. The only way exhibitors can pick from a wide range of movies is if they support a wide range of movies, and they’re not.”
Boll thinks the problem arises when exhibitors confuse “good movies with important ones.”
“Everybody says ‘Iron Man’ is important because you have Robert Downey Jr.,” he complained. “The movie is not important. It’s a good, entertaining movie, but it’s not an important movie. ‘Indy’ is not important. It’s never been important.”
Buried not far beneath Boll’s words is the subtext that “Postal” is an important movie — at least to the director himself. Boll alternately compared it to “Wedding Crashers” and “Naked Gun” in one breath, and “Life of Brian” and “Taxi Driver” in the next. (Again, seriously.)
This weekend you’ll have a chance to find out for yourself … that is, if you can find it in a theater near you.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Postal.”
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