William Brent Bell just might be the most hated director by moviegoers right now, but studio execs love the dude. Even though it earned a rare “F” CinemaScore, thanks to some clever marketing on behalf of Paramount‘s cheapie Insurge label, “The Devil Inside” screamed its way to the top spot over the weekend, obliterating all expectations with over $30 million at the box office. So why is everybody up in arms? **SPOILER** Cinemagoers around the country were apparently infuriated (many Twitter reports of hissing and booing) when “The Devil Inside” ended rather abruptly, with a link to website to find out more. **END SPOILER** But Hollywood rewards those who make money, and thus Bell will continue to find work.
Warner Bros. seems to like what he did with a $1 million budget and Deadline reports they’ve signed him up to direct the thriller “The Vatican.” Clearly, they don’t trust him that much to give him any kind of material that might be slightly different. Penned by David Cohen – who wrote the Black List approved “Subject Zero” and the upcoming Luke Evans vehicle “No One Lives” — not many plot details are out there, but it’s described as a “conspiracy driven thriller” that will use “found footage techniques.” Ugh. You asked for his America (seriously, who didn’t think “The Devil Inside” looked like a turd from day one?). Anyway, there’s more on that controversial ending below so if you don’t want to know stop reading here.
Anyway, Bell recently spoke to MovieWeb and tried to make a convincing case for why they stuck with that cheap shot of ending, and he doesn’t really succeed. “People seem to understand movies so much, they want something different. But, when they get something different, they don’t like it. We all agreed, and Paramount and everybody, came to the conclusion to have the ending be this. We think it’s pretty ballsy, even for Paramount, to stand behind that, but we’re totally behind that,” Bell rationalized. “That website, we think it’s a pretty interesting experiment. There’s going to be a lot more on there that continues the story, even more than is on there now. It’s a continuation of the story, and it will be up on there sooner than you think. Nobody is waiting for the DVD extras. We’re going to show you a continuation of the story on that website very soon.”
So it’s audiences’ fault for not embracing something different and the studio and filmmakers thought it was good….SO THERE. Making people pay good money to watch a movie and then telling them go online to watch the end? Bullshit move. Here’s hoping this time around, an actual ending is delivered.