1997’s Good Will Hunting is a story about making it from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the world, and in making over $225 million at the box office, the small-budget film starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Robin Williams, did just that.
Despite the film’s massive earnings, however, not everyone was happy for the success of Good Will Hunting.
In a passage in his new book, “Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash,” famed Clerks director, Kevin Smith, reveals that Miramax founder and convicted sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein attempted to pull Good Will Hunting out of theaters to limit how much money Williams made off the film.
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Smith said that Williams had a back-end deal that said “if the drama grossed over $100 million, Williams would cash in a larger portion of the profits and split that money with Miramax.” While Smith was not sure exactly what percentage Williams was set to receive when the film crested $100 million, but maintained that Weinstein tried to sabotage the movie.
“I remember 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 (of) greed.”
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Williams, who was recently profiled in an episode of Hulu’s Superstar, committed suicide in 2014 and in the years since, has received an outpouring of love from fans of his work on screen, and on stage as a standup comedian. Good Will Hunting is arguably one Williams’ best roles but despite the fact that the trio of he, Damon and Affleck would prove to have more star-power than ever expected, Weinstein was more concerned with his company’s cut of the profits than he was with the film’s success.
What do you think of Smith’s comments on Weinstein sabotaging Williams? Let us know in the comments.