Kevin Smith Defends 'Red State' Road Show

While critics bemoan high ticket prices, director says his 'fanbase is already paying 60, 65 bucks to see me stand there by myself.'

People were pissed off. Kevin Smith had seemed to indicate that he was going to hold a one-of-a-kind auction at the Sundance Film Festival last month, selling the rights to "Red State" to the highest bidder. Instead, after the genre-bending, horror-meets-thriller-meets-buddy-comedy flick premiered, Smith announced he was bypassing the traditional distribution model and releasing the movie himself.

And people were even more pissed when they found out what that strategy would entail — namely, $60 or more to see "Red State" as Smith took it on a road show across the country. As the writer/director himself put it during a live-stream interview with MTV News, "I saw a lot of people saying online, '60 bucks to see a movie? F--- him!' "

But those people, Smith argued, are missing the point. He and his producing pals are seeking a way to avoid getting sucked down the Hollywood marketing rabbit hole and instead bring the movie directly to their fans — building buzz along the way — before the film hit theaters nationwide in the fall. The 15-city tour will include both a screening of the film and a talk by Smith, akin to the shows he's long staged on college campuses and other venues.

"Fanbase is already paying 60, 65 bucks to see me stand there by myself, sweating, fatty, go like, 'I got thrown off a plane once,' " Smith laughed, referencing the Southwest Airlines incident in which he was chucked from a plane for being overweight.

Smith originally wanted to kick off the tour at Carnegie Hall, the same venue he sold out for a talk last year. But the venue was already booked, so they settled on another iconic New York theater: Radio City Music Hall. The venue holds almost 6,000 people, and while Smith doesn't expect to be able to fill all those seats, he'll be able to show off the film in a high-profile setting and start to pay back his investors.

To all his detractors, who scoff at the idea of $60 for a movie and talk, Smith has one thing to say: "Wait till October and you'll see it for, like, 10 bucks in a multiplex."

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