Fox Wins Bidding War Over Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’

Fox has emerged the victor in a bidding war for Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, beating out competition from Lionsgate and Paramount to distribute the film. A feature film based on the highly entertaining trailer in Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse, Machete was financed by Overnight Productions, who sold international distribution rights to Sony in order to acquire the financing necessary to complete the production.

Rodriguez shot Machete this past fall at the home of his Troublemaker Studios here in Austin, Texas. While Grindhouse is broadly considered a box-office flop and a severe overestimation of what mass audiences expect from a movie (at least from a business perspective, as the total running time was over three hours and many cinemagoers are reported to have walked out of theatrical screenings, either because of lack of knowledge that the film was a double feature or simply frustration).

To make a feature spin-off from a fake trailer in a movie that didn’t make money seems like a big risk, but the bidding war between these three studios suggests that they see box-office potential in Machete that wasn’t realized in Grindhouse. Or it could mean, hopefully, that Machete is just a good movie and works independently of its connection to Grindhouse. Machete is an exploitative action movie, not a complex story, so exposure to the fake trailer should hardly be necessary to sell this film.

Machete stars longtime character actor Danny Trejo as the titular character, with Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Steven Seagal, and Dame Lindsay Lohan rounding out the cast. The film is slated for wide release April 16. You can see the original fake trailer here.

Landon is a PhD candidate currently finishing a dissertation on rock 'n' roll movies at Indiana University's department of Communication and Culture.

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