The Hangover came out of nowhere to narrowly beat Up at the box office this weekend. Initial reports say it was a star-crossed project, destined for greatness. Turns out The Hangover, like any other Hollywood movie, made it to the big screen after some backstage bad behavior and backbiting:
It all started with Chris Bender who heard the story of how his Hollywood friend went mysteriously missing from his bachelor party in Las Vegas.
The writers went off and wrote. But by then they wanted a huge raise for the project. New Line passed at that price (as did every other studio) — especially with 2 other bachelor party movies being fast-tracked at Universal. So then the writers and BenderSpink decided to spec it out with the understanding that New Line would get first crack. But when the spec was finished, CAA agent Gregory McKnight attached Old School director Todd Phillips to the project and slipped it to Warner Bros because Phillips had a first-look deal there. Warner Bros bought the spec script pre-emptively. (My sources claim McKnight sold the script without Bender. And it was only after Bender showed WB lawyers his email exchanges with Lucas-Moore that the studio finally agreed he’d helped develop the concept.)