There is no new release date yet, though the word is that it'll start showing nationwide on US screens in March or April this year. While that is reasonable good news, other things are going on that do not seem to bode well for the movie.
The original storyline was that a group of Star Wars fans travels across country to break into Skywalker Ranch so that one of their own can see Episode I. He has cancer and would not live to see it when it is released in theaters. That's the movie that Ernie Cline and Adam Goldberg wrote and that Kyle Newman shot. However, for some strange reason, The Powers That Be have taken over and reshot a lot of footage to remove the whole cancer storyline from the movie. Now, the whole break-in ploy plays like a whimsical stunt.
Fact is that there were test screenings in the LA area in January and February 2008. Both versions of the movie were shown (to different teenage audiences) to see which version would rate better. And from the looks of it, I'd say there wasn't an overwhelming outcry to go with the cancer storyline rather than the cancer-free one. Which is just very sad.
I have been following the movie for close to two years now. I've been in touch with the director and other people involved. This movie is very dear to me because I believed in it being a refreshing comedy that still had a wonderful emotional core. A movie that would make you laugh and possibly also cry. Now my heart is bleeding at what they're apparently planning to do. And I just can't see the Weinstein's justification for it.
I have also been going to the IMDb Fanboys board of late to see what others thought and if there were reactions from people who had seen the no-cancer plot version (a.k.a. the Corporate Cut of the movie). There were two or three teenagers who posted they really liked it. However, upon engaging them in conversation, they admitted to not even knowing there was another version of the movie before coming to IMDb. Some even thought that the Corporate Cut was the version originally shot and that they were trying to add the cancer storyline to the movie. How backward is that?
One thing that I would like to point out especially is that one person said he enjoyed the Corporate Cut a lot because of all the Star Wars references, being a big Star Wars fan. He actually said you have to be a Star Wars fan to like the movie. But the girl sitting next to him didn't really know Star Wars and didn't get the references, was even appalled at how ridiculous the movie was. In the end her reaction was that she thought the movie was another "Superbad", only with nerdier geeks. Is that really what the Weinsteins want their target audience to think about the movie?
Also, the questionnaire they handed out after the test screenings was very sneaky. The audience was never told that another version of the movie exists. They were also not asked directly whether the viewers would prefer the non-cancer to the cancer version. Instead they were asking the test viewers to pick options of things to be included in the plot, and one of them was to add that one of the characters is dying of cancer. Yeah, how many people would pick that option if they knew nothing about what was really going on, and knew nothing about how the cancer plot would be driving the whole story and the characters' actions? VERY sneaky, Darth Weinstein! If not to say craftily back-stabbing and manipulative.
Someone of the pro-cancer storyline faction on IMDb brought up a very good point. What does the Corporate Cut really have to offer those who aren't die-hard Star Wars fans? I'm short of an answer. Would this be a movie that you can take your girlfriend to and still expect her to enjoy it (unless she's a die-hard fan herself)? Let me guess. She'll, like, think it's totally, like, ridiculous and just another Superbad, only with nerdier geeks. The original version of the movie has something to offer both our regular viewer and the die-hard Star Wars fan. Because if you're not getting all the inside jokes, at least you're having a few giggles and are enjoying a heartfelt story with an emotional core. Can't really say it sounds like the Corporate Cut will offer anything else than maybe a few giggles. But only if you're a Star Wars fan.
Luckily, some fans are more outspoken than others. A group of Star Wars fans to whom the movie is just as dear as it is to me have created a site that'll hopefully help the public protest. Please visit the Stop Darth Weinstein site at http://www.seeya.at/stopdarthweinstein and join our cause!
But enough whining for today. Let me leave you with something that gave me a tiny bit of hope: Ernest Cline (the original author of Fanboys) has posted his thoughts on the movie and recent developments and some very interesting and entertaining behind-the-scenes stuff in his blog. You can read it here: http://www.ernestcline.com/blog
I really hope the Weinsteins make the smart decision here. May The Force Be With The Original Version Of The Movie!