This ‘Freddy Got Fingered’ Conspiracy Theory From Tom Green Actually Sounds Plausible
I haven’t thought about actor/comedian Tom Green or his 2001 absurdist comedy Freddy Got Fingered since we wrote this article in March of 2016 about how a man was arrested after not returning his VHS rental of it after 14 years. If you told me that Green had a conspiracy theory about why Freddy Got Fingered didn’t perform well at the box office, I’d have shrugged it off – but he really does have one, and it actually sounds pretty reasonable.
Speaking with Vulture, Green (who has a residency performing stand-up comedy in Las Vegas) explained his thoughts about why “dramatically more” people saw the movie in theaters than what was initially reported:
It made $14 million at the box office, okay? Which basically means that it actually made its budget money back. But there was also a pretty scientific understanding that all of my fans were buying tickets to Crocodile Dundee and then sneaking into my movie because it was R-rated. You literally couldn’t get a seat in a theater where my movie was playing that opening weekend. All over Los Angeles the theaters were packed. A lot of things about the way people write about that Freddy Got Fingered are unfair.
The movie cost $14 million to produce and it made $14 million in its opening weekend and it made over $25 million on DVD and video. So it was a totally profitable movie even when you include the ten million dollars in promotion that the studio put into it. That’s a wildly financial success story for a comedy movie. And people say, “The movie bombed.” It didn’t actually, you know?
When asked if he had any evidence to back the Crocodile Dundee theory, Green responded:
Well, everybody tells me that. I remember everyone at the studio was talking about it back then: that Crocodile Dundee dramatically over-performed. But listen, I don’t want to get into a diss war with Paul Hogan. I don’t want to start a great Australian-Canadian diss war. I’m happy to give him credit where credit is due. But even if you look at the numbers that were reported, Freddy Got Fingered is not the failure that people like to say it is.
Anecdotally speaking, I remember Green appealing to a much younger crowd at that time, so his claim about fans buying tickets and sneaking into an R-rated movie seems legit, especially if it’s true that Crocodile Dundee in L.A. over-performed.
Freddy Got Fingered was Green’s directorial debut, and it was released in theaters in April of 2001. This excerpt from Roger Ebert’s review at the time summed up critical response fairly well: “This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.” I never saw the film, but the line “Daddy, would you like some sausage?” inexplicably found its way into the cultural lexicon. Green says he can’t go into any English-speaking city in the world without having that line shouted at him on the street, and I believe it. Here’s the movie’s trailer:
The movie has a Metacritic score of 13, and an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. In the years since its release, the movie has received something of a reevaluation by critics. One article calls it “the most underrated film of all time,” while another wonders if it’s actually a “secret masterpiece.” A college student even wrote a thesis referring to it as a “neo-surrealist masterpiece.” Your mileage may vary, but at the very least, we know it wasn’t a financial failure.
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