You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Harvey Weinstein Says He’ll Probably Lose Money on ‘The Master,’ Wishes He Had Marketed It Differently

Harvey Weinstein Says He'll Probably Lose Money on 'The Master,' Wishes He Had Marketed It Differently

With essentially only the Oscars left to lavish praise upon 2012’s films, it seems the opaque, askew nature of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master” has left voters with just acting nominations to fully commend. Not that Harvey Weinstein hasn’t put his entire support behind the picture to garner more; quite the opposite, but according to him, awards recognition is not the only realm the film will come up short.

Thus far, “The Master” has only taken in $24 million worldwide — nowhere near a runaway success for PTA — and in a Sundance chat with Deadline, Weinstein confirmed just as much. When asked if the $30 million-budgeted film will make any money for The Weinstein Company or anyone else, he responded, “Probably not, and I just feel bad for [Annapurna Pictures‘] Megan Ellison on that. I think it’s a great movie and god bless her for bringing these great movies into the world.”

He then admitted he “probably could have marketed it better;” an interesting comment based on the fact that PTA himself cut the striking marketing materials, a move which may have stayed true to the film’s tone, but also perhaps a financial detriment as well.

Weinstein also thought audiences “needed to be guided and eased into it,” and reflecting upon his close role in PTA’s post-production process, pondered whether “being a devil’s advocate instead of a cheerleader” would have brought the film better business.

“I seem to do better when I’m playing devil’s advocate,” Weinstein concluded, but I do think the film will stand up and have a long life down the line.” We might stand to agree, but we’ll see if “The Master” finds new eyes when its packed Blu-ray hits stores February 26th.

This Article is related to: News and tagged , ,



I remember seeing commercials for this movie played during NFL games. The arty trailers that PTA came up with were not the only advertising used for this film. These trailers made it seem like a very mainstream type drama, hocking the big name actors like you would any mainstream movie. The reason this film failed to perform was bad reviews and bad word of mouth.

Alan B

Give me a break, Harves. This is a film in which Phoenix masturbates on a beach … in the opening sequence. There is a ceiling on the film's success that no amount of nifty marketing could have breached.


best movie of 2012. harvey fucked up.


The title of this article contains poor English. It should say "…., Wishes He Had Marketed It Differently".


I had a hard seeing this film, only one theater in my entire area was showing this film.


I think in the long run, it will do fine. A bunch of films have done shit in the theaters and have found a much bigger audience on DVD or cable tv. In my opinion, "The Master" is the kind of movie that will be watched and rewatched for years to come. It's not the kind of film that will just make the quick buck back at the box office and then be forgot about a year later. It's more then that!


Please consider the possibility that the so-called fan-base of PTA is only this big, meaning small. You cannot squeeze certain movies down the throat of the entire population. Different marketing does not change this simple fact.


I want the director's edition of The Master.It'd be a masterpiece.

Brendan Thomas

The only way this movie would've been a financial success is if it had some Oscar buzz behind it. This could've been achieved by releasing it later and trickling it out slower. So if it had been released in late November or something it'd be fresher in the Academy's minds, and MAYBE they would've nominated it for more awards. Then going wide in January would've had a bigger impact. (not that I'm really complaining–seeing this in early September was an unbelievable treat)

However, I'm not convinced this movie would ever have appealed much to the Academy, so perhaps it was destined to lose money regardless. I think Harvey's right that it'll have a long life down the road (think most of Kubrick's films, and their releases as opposed to their legacies). And I still think it's the best movie of the year.

Ray H

I agree with many of the other comments. It was released too early and lost most of its Oscar momentum and a more gradual release would have helped build buzz and word of mouth. But to be fair, it's a tough movie to sell to audiences. The trailers and advertising were among the best of the year.


Don't feel too bad for Megan Ellison Harv. Things could, as they say, be worse.


I think releasing the film too early made it lose steem to the big awards (and let's face it, that's the only thing HW was after since even I knew it wasn't going to be a big crowd pleaser by watching the trailers…) and maybe they thought it would have the performance of There will be blood… It is a difficult (yet brilliant) film and should have been taken with parsimony until it would find its own crowd.

But they're releasing worldwide now so I do think it's too soon to tell. During the three times I've seen in Brazil (it opened a week ago) the theatres were packed!


I wish Anderson had written it differently. Fantastic performances, cinematography, score and a genuinely interesting concept all wasted because of a sub par screenplay.


The marketing was fine. Going wide in the second was an awfully dumb decision.


It might've done better if they stuck with the October release date, too. It seemed lonely coming out in September when the rest of the big guns were out in the months following.

oogle monster

I don't think it had anything to do with PTA taking control of the trailer, etc. It has EVERYTHING to do with dumping the film into 700+ theaters after ONE week of limited release. Once again, take a look at the marketing strategy behind The Descendants… EVERY polarizing film could utilize that approach. The Descendants was a shit-filled movie but it had one hell of a marketing strategy. Platform release, Weinstein… PLATFORM RELEASE!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *