Report: ‘The Brothers Grimsby’ Has Sony Execs Upset Over Donald Trump AIDS Scene
There was a considerable period of time when a new Sacha Baron Cohen movie was a highly-anticipated event, and yet we haven’t seen much marketing for his upcoming spy comedy The Brothers Grimsby. Granted, Cohen hasn’t been very active since The Dictator, and you wouldn’t be wrong for assuming that his waning popularity might have something to do with Sony’s lackluster marketing push — the underwhelming trailers don’t help, either. But a new report suggests that there might be another reason that general audiences aren’t very aware of The Brothers Grimsby, and that reason might be Donald Trump.
The Brothers Grimsby has already screened for audiences in London and Europe, and there have been a handful of early promotional screenings in the U.S. for college students. During those screenings, a scene in which presidential candidate Donald Trump (a phrase that remains incredibly baffling) acquires AIDS has been met with cheers and applause from audiences both at home and abroad. It’s the kind of boundary-pushing humor that’s long been Cohen’s brand, so it’s not all that surprising.
But according to The Huffington Post, one industry source close to the studio says that Sony is attempting to bury the film’s release because of it. The insider says that the studio is “subtly trying to make it disappear,” and adds, “If you were told that they’re shying away from the movie because of the political implications, I can tell you that’s 100 percent true.”
Sony is reportedly still nervous following the controversy surrounding the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview, which drew threats and led to a massive hack of the studio’s corporate communications due to the film’s depiction of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Per the source, Sony gave Cohen final cut on The Brothers Grimsby, and the studio is frustrated with his refusal to remove the Trump scene, fearing legal retaliation from the notoriously litigious businessman.
In a statement to Variety, Sony denies interfering with the release of The Brothers Grimsby and maintains that Cohen’s new comedy has their full support. However, the film has not received much of a marketing push — the trailer has not been shown regularly in theaters, and with a March 11 release imminent, The Brothers Grimsby hasn’t been screened for most members of the press. (Cohen was recently in Austin for an early screening, but admittance was limited to college students.)
Although the insider’s claims that Sony is trying to bury the film cannot be entirely verified at this time, the lack of promotional materials for The Brothers Grimsby lends some credence to the report. And if true, this is exactly the sort of behavior we were worried about following the controversy surrounding The Interview.