Today, in commitment to your craft/finally making a new Fletch movie after like 25 years news: Jon Hamm gave back more than half of his salary on his new film Confess, Fletch, in order to ensure that the movie would actually be finished. Specifically—and per director Greg Mottola, who was talking to Uproxx—Hamm apparently gave back 60 percent of his salary on the film, buying (along with a similar, smaller donation from Mottola) the production three whole extra days of shooting, bringing the movie up to 30 days of filming in Boston (with 1 extra day in Rome).
Such is the fate of the low-budget comedy film, that oddest of beasts in the current movie-going market. Much of the Uproxx interview with Superbad and Adventureland director Mottola is about his general bafflement about how his movie—which has received generally positive reviews from critics, who mostly enjoyed the ways it hews more closely to Gregory Mcdonald’s Fletch books than the Chevy Chase films from the ’80s—has been marketed, or, more specifically, not marketed. (Consider this your general reminder that Confess, Fletch is in actual theaters, and wasn’t just a direct-to-streaming release—a true oddity for a movie of its ilk in the streaming age.)
In Mottola’s telling, he actually got a ton of support from the film’s producers at Miramax, who okayed pretty much any creative idea he worked up—provided the film came in under $20 million, hence Hamm and Mottola both donating back parts of their salaries to get under that number. The result has been a movie that Fletch fans—including those same studio executives—seemed to have liked quite a bit. But they just can’t figure out how to get people to go to a theater and see a comedy movie, apparently. (Although, again, as Mottola points out, some tiny amount of marketing might have helped.)
Mottola, describing efforts to find alternative funding for the film:
So we looked for partners on the movie, and everyone passed. Everyone said, “I don’t know that this kind of comedy works in this day and age.” They just had a kind of like, “Who’s Fletch? I don’t think anyone cares anymore.”
Anyway: Another depressing data point for the 2020s-fate of the inexpensive studio comedy.