During the conversation, Smith talked about an excerpt in the book where he claims that Harvey Weinstein pulled Good Will Hunting from theaters early to spite Robin Williams and mess up his deal on the back end.
“It was doing incredibly well, and the deal that they’d made with Robin was a high-percentage first-dollar gross — a movie-star deal — and it was great, because instantly by putting Robin in the movie their pre-sales paid for the whole fucking film,” Smith explained. “So, the movie was paid for and then the movie was making money hand over fist and made over $100 million. From what I remember, Robin’s split would be even greater and he’d get a bigger percentage if it crossed $100 million, so every dollar the movie made at the theatrical box office would have to be split — I’m not sure if it was a 50/50 split — with Robin Williams.”
Smith continued by explaining that, since he was a co-executive producer, he was aware of everything happening behind the scenes and learned that the movie was pulled early from theaters because it would mean Robin would earn less money.
“I was on the movie as a co-executive producer, so we were privy to some details, and I remember the day 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.”
Good Will Hunting would go on to win Oscars for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay thanks to the script written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Smith’s new book Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash is available to purchase now. Head here to read Smith’s interview with Daily Beast in full.