Harvey Weinstein pulled ‘Good Will Hunting’ from theaters to hurt Robin Williams

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Matt Damon and Ben Affleck‘s smash feature film “Good Will Hunting” is proof that a small project can turn out big results.

The 1997 Gus Van Saint drama earned over $225 million at the box office and won two Oscars.

However, there seemed to have been some drama that erupted after filming wrapped.

“Mallrats” filmmaker (and “Good Will Hunting” executive producer) Kevin Smith claims that disgraced Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein wanted to pull the indie film from theater screens early in an attempt to mess with star Robin Williams’ career.

In Smith’s new book, “Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash,” the 51-year-old revealed that Williams had a back-end deal that said if the drama grossed over $100 million, Williams would cash in a larger portion of the profits and split that money with Miramax. In an interview with the Daily Beast, the director said he’s “not sure if it was a 50/50 split.”

Kevin Smith
Smith has worked with Affleck, Damon and Miramax Films on several of his cult classics.
Getty Images

He added, “I remember when ‘Good Will Hunting’ was leaving theaters and it felt weird because it was like, ‘Wait? There’s all this Oscar buzz, so why would you pull it if it was just making money?’ And they did it because keeping it in theaters meant that more of the money would go to Robin, whereas the moment it went to video the split wasn’t Robin-heavy. It was hamstrung because [of] greed.”

Several of Smith’s cult films such as “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy,” “Jersey Girl” and “Dogma” were produced by Weinstein and Miramax. Affleck, 49, and Damon, 51, starred in some of these movies.

“Good Will Hunting” was made on a tiny budget of $10 million. While the film scored nine Academy Award nominations, Affleck and Damon won for Best Screenplay and Williams won for Best Supporting Actor.

good will hunting
Damon and Williams in a scene from 1997’s “Good Will Hunting.”
©Miramax/Courtesy Everett Colle

Another golden nugget from Smith’s book is that he coined the now-infamous phrase “Bennifer.” The name was given to Affleck and girlfriend Jennifer Lopez in the early aughts.

Lopez, 52, and the “Argo” actor starred in Smith’s 2004 comedy “Jersey Girl” as a young couple. He gave the lovebirds the portmanteau on set of the box office bomb.

“Dubious honor! A dubious honor at best, man,” Smith told the outlet. “Most people out there, including Ben and Jen themselves, are like, ‘Thanks, a – – hole.’ ”

Despite dating from 2002 until breaking up in 2004, Bennifer is now back together.

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About the Author: Durkhanai Schuyler