Troublemakers Embraced By Fox, Finally
Rodriguez signs with Fox on Machete distro deal
By Marc Savlov,
9:22AM, Mon. Jan. 25, 2010
"Once he was a decent man living a decent life. Now he is a brutal savage who must slaughter to stay alive." That's the tag line for Robert Rodriguez's Machete, but it could just as well describe the studio melee surrounding the domestic distribution rights to the film. And the winner is
Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox, natch, whose exploitation genre-film minions cannily maneuvered their way into the good graces of Rodriguez and his longtime WME agent Robert Newman by reminding everyone that, hey, they're already attached to Troublemaker Studios' Predators, so, you know, why the heck not distribute Machete while they're at it? Studio logic, ya gotta love it.
And what of former Rodriguez camp courtiers Los Dos Weinsteins, who had first look and blinked? According to this story on Deadline.com, a "Weinstein Co insider" said the Machete footage they saw was "not very good at all." Oh, okay, got it. That makes sense in a weird, Weinsteinian, WTF?! kinda way. Thusly reasoned, RR's far below par kiddie flick The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D was a no-brainer for Dimension/TWC, but Machete, a ripped-from-the-headlines, pugnaciously populist tale of one "decent" man's La Raza war on the slimy Texas politicians and corporate creeps that did him wrong, is dubbed sucky on the basis of 15-30 minutes of rough cut footage? Go figure.
All studio shenanigans aside, we believe that what it really all boiled down to is how the six majors (Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Paranount, TWC) who were bidding on Machete answered the following fundamental Rodriguez poser: "Are you a Mexican or are you a Mexican't?" Despite Fox News' ongoing and unconcealed fear and loathing of all things south of El Norte's border, the megacorp's film distro arm clearly has the cojones necessary to back whatever Rodriguez and Troublemaker come up with, and frankly, we think that's downright decent of them.