November 9, 2011

THE STATUETTE STAKES: Brett Ratner’s Really Bad Week

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Nobody remembers the comic strip “L’il Abner” anymore, but there used to be a character in it named Joe Btfspik, who was so unlucky that he walked around with a perpetual dark cloud hanging over his head.  this week, Brett Ratner may feel like he knows how Btfspik felt–but at least poor Joe didn’t cause his own disasters.
Ratner has just stepped down from his post as producer of next year’s Oscar telecast, following a really stunning series of idiotic statements, all made in public.  He began his reign of error by insulting actress Olivia Munn, whom he (mistakenly, it seems) thought had ridiculed his physical attributes and accused him of masturbating with shrimp grease on his hands in a book she wrote.  Then he appeared on Howard Stern’s radio show and while apologizing for the Munn slights, he discussed his sexual history and preferences graphically and in more detail than anyone other than Stern fans could possibly have wanted to hear.  But the worst was yet to come.

This past weekend, Ratner took part in a Q&A at the Arclight to promote Tower Heist.  When asked about the rehearsal process, he responded “Rehearsals are for fags.”  It was meant as a cocky, off-hand joke, he almost certainly didn’t intend any genuine slight to gay people–but still.  Idiotic and offensive.  And far from the portrait of itself that Hollywood wants to present on its biggest night of the year.  Thus:  buh-bye.
And on top of all that, Tower Heist was an expensive disappointment at the boxoffice that probably won’t get anywhere near breakeven.  
Rush Hour 4, anyone?
And will anyone miss Eddie Murphy, Ratner’s chosen host, if he decides to join his buddy on the sidelines in February?

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."