the industry

The Mysteriously Cut Viral Piranha 3D Ad

Jessica Szhor Shills for Oscars.

For all the swimmers’ bloody thrashing around in the never-ending ads for Piranha 3D, the movie barely made a wave at the box office, grossing just $10 million (and that’s with premium ticket pricing for 3-D). The weak opening (despite shockingly good reviews) was definitely disproportional to the amount of promotion put out by the Weinstein Company, what with the endless trailers, TV ads, and stories about Jerry O’Connell’s onscreen severed penis. But while it seemed like the Weinsteins stopped at nothing to sell this film, it appears that there was a line that they wouldn’t cross: antagonizing the Oscars, which, as history has shown, Harvey Weinstein holds sacred above all else.

As part of the promo push, less than a week ago Funny or Die debuted a clip in which the P3D cast launched a mock campaign demanding that their movie be given due consideration for Oscars, not just for Best Picture but in other, less well-known categories, such as “best penis being gobbled and spit out in 3D.” It was snarky, witty, and lasted less than four minutes. But barely a day after the Weinstein Co.–sanctioned clip debuted, it was mysteriously pulled, replaced by a new version nearly one-third shorter in length. Based on what got lost between cuts, it’s fair to wonder whether somebody whose twin loves are winning awards and cutting things down suddenly got touchy about offending the folks at the Oscars and the Golden Globes.

The first cut, after all, took the Academy to task for some of its more dubious past selections (“You nominated Ghost for Best Picture!” Adam Scott laments. “I mean, gimme a fucking break!”) and for being irrelevant to Gen Y audiences (“Do you even want young people to watch the Oscars? Then stop making them shitty and boring,” zings Jessica Szhor.) The original also featured a tirade by Scott preemptively dismissing the offer of a lesser Golden Globe: “Unless it’s shaped like an Oscar, is delivered to us at the Oscars, and Bruce Vilanch is writing the fucking jokes, don’t bother.” Not all of the jabs at award shows were sliced out: At least one joke about folks under 50 not caring about the Oscars did survive.

Vulture asked a rep for P3D about the trim, and whether Weinstein — who cemented his legend as the Bobby Fischer of Oscar campaigns by getting the Academy to choose Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan as the Best Picture in 1999 — played any role in the editing. “It was always planned to be about two and a half minutes,” a spokeswoman for the film stresses. “The longer version went up temporarily until the tighter version was ready.” Hmmm: If the clip was always meant to be shorter, couldn’t Funny or Die have just waited a day until the approved version was ready? After all, it’s not like Don Pardo was in a room somewhere waiting to say, “Live from the Internet, it’s Funny or Die!” Further confusing the matter is the fact that the clip’s directors, the comedy group known as Tremendosaur, have posted the original edit on YouTube and their own website, indicating that the decision to make the trims had nothing to do with the creative preferences of the creators. We’ve posted both the official and “extended” cuts of the P3D For Your Consideration spoof below; you can decide for yourself which take is funnier.

The longer, original take:

The trimmed, official version:

The Mysteriously Cut Viral Piranha 3D Ad