Fanboy favorite Kevin Smith is currently working on what could become his most mainstream hit to date by having Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks star as the title characters in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
But will the word porno become a problem for potential moviegoers? Probably not as we have loads of other reasons to not go see movies in the theaters. Just look at the abysmal returns for Will Ferrell’s latest flick Semi-Pro. Regardless, USA Today gets down and dirty to find out.
“We’re just hoping that by the time the movie comes out, if the marketing people do their jobs right, it’s a word that people will kind of get over,” he says.
Industry analysts say Porno fits right in. “It’s one of the best titles of the year,” says Jeff Bock, an analyst with movie tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. “It sells the film for exactly what it is.” It helps, he notes, that Smith (Clerks, Dogma) has a dependable fan base. “They’ll follow him anywhere. I don’t think anything is too risqu? for Kevin Smith fans.”
But that base is somewhat limited; Smith’s films tend to gross $20 million to $30 million. (Knocked Up brought in nearly $150 million.) With star-on-the-rise Rogen and the success of Knocked Up, “expectations are up for this particular film,” Bock says.
“What’s weird about it is, it’s dirty. But it’s so incredibly sweet,” Smith says, noting that Porno will be rated R (obviously, there’s no actual porn in it). Banks says grown-ups are mature enough for immature jokes. “These kinds of comedies, these sweet and sexy comedies, have all started to push the envelope. This movie takes it even further, that’s definitely true. But if you’re over 15 years old ? you know what sex is, and in comedy you’re always trying to find those taboos that you can break for a laugh. Sex in America is a huge one.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this movie plays out. Afterall, something like this could make or break the appearance of Seth Rogen’s moviestar-ness and could possibly catapault Kevin Smith to greater heights.
Still, the story of two friends who make a porno to get out of financial troubles and end up falling in love sounds like a hipster formula for the rom-com.