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Kevin Smith’s Promotional Beefs: A History

Sure, Kevin Smith's recent battle with Southwest Airlines over his own flightworthiness was silly and over-the-top and lasted at least three days too many. But in case you hadn't heard, he's got a new movie — Cop Out, the Tracy Morgan–Bruce Willis cop comedy — in theaters this week, and pretty much the only tool in Smith's promotional shed is his famous ability to pick silly, over-the-top fights with the Man that get old long before they're over. Since his first big dust-up with Catholics over Dogma, Smith's publicly bickered his way to box-office glory for all but one of his films. After the jump, a look back at his notable movie-promoting beefs.

Dogma (1999)

The Beef: Kevin Smith vs. the Catholic League

The Backstory: Uncharacteristically humorless, the Catholic League took offense to Smith's blasphemy-filled comedy starring serial-killing angels, a demon made of poo, and naked Alanis Morrisette (as God). The group sent protesters to film festivals and successfully demanded that Disney sever all financial ties to Dogma. "There have been a lot of things written or said about the flick by people who haven't seen it, which I guess is standard operating procedure for these people," railed Smith.

Opening weekend: Goddamn! $8.7 million.


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

The Beef: Kevin Smith vs. GLAAD

The Backstory: Upset over a character's use of the word "gay" to describe things that are stupid, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation branded the movie "overwhelmingly homophobic." Smith railed: "I swear, I caught it from the right wing on Dogma, and now I'm catching it from the left wing on this flick ... When the hell do I get to make a movie in which I don't have to explain myself afterward?"

Opening weekend: Outrage accomplished! $11 million.


Jersey Girl (2004)

The Beef: NA

The Backstory: Probably nervous about upsetting Warner Bros. with first big-studio project, Smith risks box-office ruin by not making a big deal over the loss of the film's original title, A Couple of Dicks. But then, a stroke of luck: Southwest Airlines removed him from a February 13 flight on the count of his dangerous obesity. Smith went into full-on freak-out mode, tweeting, blogging, vlogging, and challenging the airline to a televised fatness test. In what is surely Smith's greatest-ever promotional beef, he railed: "So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no 'safety risk' (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don't embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don't sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir."

Opening weekend: A disastrous $8.3 million. "Where's the beef?" say moviegoers.


Clerks 2 (2006)

The Beef: Kevin Smith vs. Joel Siegel

The Backstory: Forty minutes into a press screening for Clerks 2, Good Morning America's Joel Siegel reportedly stood up and walked out while shouting, "Time to go! This is the first movie I’ve walked out of in 30 fucking years!" Smith debated Siegel on the "Opie and Anthony Show," and in a blog post, he railed: "Leave the diva-like behavior and drama-queen antics to the movie stars, not the movie reviewer, ya' rude-ass prick."

Opening Weekend: The beef is back! $10 million.


Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

The Beef: Kevin Smith vs. the MPAA

The Backstory: The MPAA smacked Porno with an NC-17 rating (later successfully negotiated down to an "R," without edits) and banned the film's oral-sex-implying poster in the U.S. Some newspapers refused to run ads for the movie because of its title. Smith railed: "It's crazy to me, because it's like, some people think that it's real porn that's being advertised. Can you tell me the last porno that you saw that had the word 'porno' in the title? Like, it doesn't exist. I don't think it's ever existed."

Opening Weekend: $10 million. Another successful shit fit!


Cop Out (2010)

The Beef: Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines

The Backstory: Probably nervous about upsetting Warner Bros. with first big-studio project, Smith risks box-office ruin by not making a big deal over the loss of the film's original title, A Couple of Dicks. But then, a stroke of luck: Southwest Airlines removed him from a February 13 flight on the count of his dangerous obesity. Smith went into full-on freak-out mode, tweeting, blogging, vlogging, and challenging the airline to a televised fatness test. In what is surely Smith's greatest-ever promotional beef, he railed: "So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no 'safety risk' (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don't embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don't sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir."

Projected Opening Weekend: $10.2 million.