Killshot (2008) Poster

(2008)

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  • Killshot is based on the 1989 novel of the same name by American novelist Elmore Leonard. The novel was scripted for the film by Iranian screenwriter Hossein Amini.

  • Johnny Knoxville was originally supposed to play a minor supporting character. In the novel, while the couple are under witness protection Knoxville's character begins to stalk the couple. He develops a creepy connection to Camron. Ultimately Wayne discovers his bizarre actions such as sneaking into the couple's temporary home while he's out and thus punches him. Their unhappiness and disgust with their new life is what causes the couple to return home and face the 2 killers. Test audiences strongly disapproved of the character and the performance. They felt it was distracting and an unneeded conflict that took away from the film's energy and thus his scenes were cut.

  • Killshot was another derelict project in the Weinstein's chest that was neglected and faced negative test audience responses. The Weinsteins simply couldn't or wouldn't follow through on many projects after their departure from Miramax; a string of financially unsuccessful films also caused them to be hesitant toward releasing a project of an unknown quantity. Many actors were once attached to the film such as Justin Timberlake, Viggo Mortinsen, and Robert De Niro, with Tony Scott directing and Tarantino producing. The ensuing uncertainty was evident as the actors and directors constantly changed. Elmore Leonard was in the dark for quite some time as he didn't know whether the project would come to fruition. Thomas Jane also had no idea what the state of production of the film was, and whether or not he would have a part in it. For a while, everyone involved in the production assumed that the film would have a quiet, straight-to-DVD release. Multiple re-shoots (deemed neccesary by the studio) further delayed the film. Even that "final" version was rejected by test audiences, and was thus heavily edited, further delaying the release of the film. The finalized version of the film was heavily panned by critics and was poorly received by audiences. Cited reasons for the film's failure were a "muddled, meandering plot with an ending so cliché and done-to-death that [there was] an audible 'sigh' [heard] coming from the audience" and "poor or non-existent character development; [the film's] protagonists were given nothing more to do than bicker with each other or simply run from the hitmen." The antagonists were "at times stomach-turning and at other times boring or (what was supposed to be) 'crazed killers' but they were more obnoxious than menacing, more bumbling than professional." It was also seen as being "both pandering and insensitive" toward Native Americans. Several critics wondered if the cut scenes wouldn't have helped explain some of the decisions of the main characters, and as the film's pacing was already seen as "poor" then "it couldn't have done that much damage to an already damaged film."

  • The film's "short" length is simply a result of how the film was edited; test audiences felt the film's pacing was too slow, that some of the tangential story lines (like the one involving Johnny Knoxville's Sheriff) detracted from the film and further slowed it down, and the fact that a film like this one clocking in at over two hours would further damage the film's commercial appeal.

  • According to a local news report from Arizona, the Weinsteins decided to release the film in a select five theaters to see how well the film would do. They planned to go national with the release, if they were satisfied. The film earned 18,643 USD domestically. Early critics in small newspapers and websites reported the film works mildly because of Rourke's solid performance.The box office information is available here.

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