Danny McBride Wants to Save the Movies (by Getting Alcohol Out of Theatres)

What if multiplexes had cannabis dispensaries in the VIP instead?

Photo: Gage Skidmore

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Apr 4, 2024

After finding television success beyond Eastbound & Down with Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones, Danny McBride is thinking about heading back to the big screen — which, in his opinion, is in need of a boost.

"I'm ready to get back into writing movies and doing movies, because it just feels like movies need help right now," McBride shares in a new GQ profile. "They need all hands on deck to get in there and get people excited again."

On one hand, McBride finds the creative process of writing films to be much less labour-intensive, explaining, "During COVID, we spit out five different screenplays. For us, writing a screenplay is like nothing compared to writing a season of TV. It's like, each season of Gemstones is the equivalent of three movies, you know? And the idea of writing one story that can have an ending and doesn't have to just keep teasing what happens next, it seems like nothing. It's like a breeze."

On the other, the multi-hyphenate is concerned that today's film industry is leaving behind budding young creatives, recalling to GQ how the box office success of American Pie gave him and his friends hope that they could achieve something similar.

"Maybe it's just my old-man view of the fucking industry, but that element, to me, feels like the most dangerous thing that the film industry has lost," McBride explained. "When you don't have examples of young people who make something against all odds, and then it goes out and makes fucking $100 million or breaks through in some extraordinary way, I think you need those examples to make the youth want to do this shit."

McBride understands that younger viewers, like his son, are taking to different forms of visual media. "To him, a YouTube dude is a million times cooler than any actor that he might come across. And I look at him like, 'He's right, man.' These fucking guys are making shit with their friends, making tons of money. And they have no bosses. People want to see a future where they get to ball, they get to have fun, and they get to do it their way. And I wonder if the film industry conveys that to people anymore."

What would make the theatregoing experience better for McBride? An end to the dinner-and-a-movie VIP screening trend, for one. "I hate it, I can't stand it," he told GQ, adding, "I also don't think it makes sense to combine booze with movies. You're going to have to piss. Doesn't alcohol make you want to get up and get loose? You don't want to sit there, drink beer, and just be quiet. I would have no interest."

However, McBride feels cannabis and movies "go together fucking perfectly," explaining, "If I went to a theatre, and it was like, 'Here's your popcorn and here's fucking weed,' I feel like that would be an awesome little combo right there."

The GQ profile notes that McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill — friends with whom he runs his Rough House Pictures company — once kicked around the idea of opening a movie theatre with a working weed dispensary dubbed Green Screen. "Why did we not do anything with that?" Green asks, only for McBride to reply, "Too busy."

You can read McBride's complete profile here, in which it's also revealed that he's finished scriptwriting for a fourth season of The Righteous Gemstones.

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