Following the screening Monday night of "Live Free or Die," the film shot in Claremont in November 2004, co-writers/co-directors Gregg Kavet Andy Robin were asked when the sequel was coming. Robin jokingly replied Bruce Willis was working on one.
More than two years after Robin and Kavet came to Claremont to film their offbeat crime comedy, the film is getting its theatrical release across New England Friday. But first the filmmakers brought the film to the Claremont Cinema 6 for a private screening for those who helped out on the production.
"It feels very satisfying, we're very proud of it, so it is nice to be able to show it off to the people that helped us make it," Robin said in an interview before the screening.
Nick Koloski, who found all the locations for the film, was eager to see the reaction of Claremont residents.
"I enjoy the people around town getting to see the movie and hear their reaction and see what people think," Koloski said before the screening.
Robin and Kavet were also excited to see the audience response to the film from the locals.
"We are going to get a weird mix of laughs tonight," Robin said. "We're going to get laughs at scenery."
As Robin predicted, the film earned knowing laughs as audience members spotted familiar locations around town, but the story of a small-time scam artist earned laughs in its own right as well.
The film earned a round of applause as the credits rolled and loud cheers when Claremont, N.H. appeared on the screen with a list of thank yous to all the businesses that helped the production.
After the screening, Kavet, Robin and actor Paul Schneider fielded audience questions. One audience member asked how wide the film's release would actually get. Kavet and Robin stressed that it all depends on what happens this weekend.
"This first weekend is really key," Kavet said. "If you like the film tell your friends, if didn't like the film tell your enemies to go see the film."
"Live Free or Die," which won top awards at the South-by-Southwest Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival, is a small film, but Kavet and Robin cited the success of "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Garden State," which got their starts in about 10 theaters.
"If we get a good turn out this weekend we can build from there," Robin said in an interview before the screening. "We've done well at festivals. We do super well with college kids, so if we get the critical mass it'll just keep rolling."
The film opens in Claremont, Portsmouth, Manchester, Lebanon, Boston and Providence on Friday and in Keene April 6. Where it goes from there is still unclear, but Kavet and Robin are hopeful.
"It we get to New York that would be pretty sweet," Kavet said.