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Movie Industry Blames Texting for Bad Box Office

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the buying-your-gross dept.

Movies 1197

cybercuzco writes "The movie industry is blaming poor sales of such movies as Gigli, The Hulk and Charlies Angels not on the fact that they were poor quality, but because people text message other people telling them that the movie stinks. Industry executives say that this undermines a carefully crafted marketing image. Expect texting to be banned by the MPAA in the near future."

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uh yeah that's it (5, Funny)

tlacicer (515153) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737470)

This article made me laugh more then Mario Cantone on the Denis Leary
roast. Who thinks this stuff? Colin Quinn should get this writer on the
payroll for tough crowd.

let's blame everything but the obvious.... (3, Insightful)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737473)

obviously reviews and the fact that a new 200 million dollar movie opened each weekend had nothing to do with it?


Yep (0, Redundant)

flynt (248848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737477)

I'm sure it will be banned, any day now, yep, right around the corner...

Communication a problem? (5, Insightful)

ryan76 (666210) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737479)

So they are saying that communication is the reason for movie's failure? They should get rid of free speech.

Re:Communication a problem? (0, Redundant)

Kalewa (561267) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737533)

That's funny and yet...not.

Re:Communication a problem? (5, Funny)

bad_fx (493443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737568)

Hey, that's probably a lot easier than getting rid of bad movies. :)

Dammit, man... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737572)

...don't go giving them any ideas.

Just blame it all on SCO.

Hrrmmm (4, Informative)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737480)

So, earning $131,164,155 in the United States alone [the-numbers.com] and breaking sales records [nwsource.com] is considered poor sales? Incredible. =)

Re:Hrrmmm (1)

jgerry (14280) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737560)

It's only because this industry (much like the music industry) is used to making FAR more return on investment than this. And now they won't be able to do that.

Why these industries feel they have the "right" to continue making as much or more money than they have in the past just baffles me. Move with the times and with the market. If you don't, you die. That's the law of the jungle.

Of course if you have the RIAA/MPAA on your side lobbying to have laws changed to protect your income stream, all bets are off.

Re:Hrrmmm (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737607)

WTF are you talking about? Who says they think they have a "right" in this case? Who says they're lobbying to change anything about this story?

They're just explaining why their profits are down. It makes sense.

Re:Hrrmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737571)

What an incredibly bad pun!

News Flash (5, Funny)

gurutechanimal (629949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737482)

Word of Mouth Ruled Illegal - Film at 11

.... errrr.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737485)


Okay.... (5, Funny)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737489)

Where's the foot icon?

Re:Okay.... (0, Offtopic)

Alan (347) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737632)

Agreed. I was actually looking for the SCO icon, as the story sounds about as incrediable as the latest SCO claims.

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737490)

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard...

Me? (1)

Distan (122159) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737492)


FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737494)

Wh00t !

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

dtl (670833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737562)

Nope, sorry.

The Movie Stinks (5, Insightful)

harryman100 (631145) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737495)

Surely if the movie wasn't crap, people wouldn't send text messages saying it was.

The solution is to create good movies.


Re:The Movie Stinks (5, Funny)

NivenHuH (579871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737610)

Where is Jay Sherman when you need him.. *sigh*

give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737496)

Charlies Angels was the hottest thing on earth.

Re:give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737615)

Charlies Angels was the hottest thing on earth.

Your mother was the hottest...thing..... dang. That doesn't work. Hrm.

Oh no! (1, Redundant)

Quintin Stone (87952) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737497)

God forbid they simply not make movies that suck.

heres my text message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737498)

gigli sucked!

Thou shall not publish bad benchmarks. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737499)

Remember when companies were complaining about benchmarks, and their image?

Works both ways (1)

faust13 (535994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737500)

So I'm guessing this means they don't want us messaging anyone to say a movie was good too?

fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737505)

I didn't get texted on this. I saw the preview for The Hulk, decided it was probably going to suck, never bothered to watch it. Found out a few weeks after it was out that it sucked (through word of mouth, not text messaging).

I wish... (2, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737506)

I could be like the MPAA, blame everyone but myself when something bad happens. I'll start by blaming communists, woman, minorities, foreigners, my parents, teachers, politicians... and everyone else, but me. It's a good thing I'm perfect!

In other news... (5, Funny)

Plix (204304) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737507)

Coke retroactively blames the touch-tone phone for poor sales of the New Coke.

You forgot to add... (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737622)

"On advice from SCO legal counsel..."


"...and claims that touch tones infringe on it's intellectual property, citing suspicious similarities between the tones heard when pressing buttons on the phones, and the sound the tab on a Coke can makes when plucked"

:-D (2, Funny)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737508)

Who needs Gigli when you have the abortion that is Battlefield Earth? THE MAN CREATURE IS HUNGRY. GET THE HUNGERFOOD FROM THE CARRYPACK.

Re::-D (3, Offtopic)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737577)

It depends on your definition of success.

If battlefield earth caused a dozen people to get sucked into the scientology cult then it was a success for scientology. They spend nothing (hollywood footed the bill after all) and got new members out of the deal.

in other news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737514)

i blame the rumors of my bad body oder for my lack of ability to get a date

SCO's involvement (1)

NetMagi (547135) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737516)

I hear the movie industry is collaborating with SCO to claim they own the code the messaging companies are using on their servers. . so this should all blow over soon. . .

SO last century (1)

sperling (524821) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737517)

They complain about how technology makes it harder for them to fool customers? Kind of reminds me of RIAA, they're just as stuck in the past as this Miramax guy.

This is grand (5, Interesting)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737518)

"In the old days, there used to be a term, 'buying your gross,' " Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, told the Los Angeles Times. "You could buy your gross for the weekend and overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to filter out into the general audience."

Here, eat some of this shit. Don't tell anyone that it tastes like... well, shit. Our business model, you ask? As follows:

  1. Produce crap.
  2. Hope enough suckers buy it before it's categorized as crap.
  3. Profit!!!
Yes, I think we just figured out step #2. Impressive!

This is just pathetic. I think it's even worse than the telephone marketers complaining about how they're livelyhood is gone because they can't piss people off whenever they want to.

Oh yeah, this "industry" is going down the drain faster than I thought. I hope it dies a fast, painful death, along with the music "industry".

Re:This is grand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737629)

It's "livelihood", for what it's worth.

Re:This is grand (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737631)

well before the Internet there wasn't a major source to get ALL the reviews about a movie. Now with sites like Rotten Tomatoes [rottentomatoes.com] which give people listings like this [rottentomatoes.com] about a movie (some are in advance, or right after release), I can't see why anyone would be suckered into watching a REALLY BAD movie (ie. To Gillian on her 35th Birthday)

If anything, it's not text messaging, instant messaging, word of mouth (in the traditional sense), it's people using the Internet to research what they should see before they see it.

Damn. (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737519)

I guess they'll just have to start making movies that don't suck.

Um... anybody remember how to do that?

This is new? (5, Insightful)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737520)

So, text-messaging allows people to spread the word about a bad movie too fast?

As opposed to, oh, checking the Tomatometer at or before the day of release? Or reading reviews you trust? Or just making a _phone call_ to your friends instead of texting them?

Text messaging is an incremental improvement in our communications ability, not a revolution.

nah, it's just speed communication. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737522)

But those days are over, because the technology of hand-held text-message devices has drastically cut down the time it takes for movie-goers to tell their friends that a heavily promoted summer action movie is a waste of time and money.

I suppose this has SOME bearing on the spread of word of mouth, but I can certainly guarantee that here in the US that text messaging is not as prevelant is the cell phone companies would like (this article is from a .co.uk site so I assume they are talking about Europe?) I guess that instant messenger (a massive communication medium for most people under the age of 26) is having something to do with it (and I guess the ability of AOL's AIM to forward those messages straight to your cell phone (thank the lord for free inbound SMS)). So while mass communication is FASTER these days (24/7 Internet connections, AIM, etc), I doubt that it has any bearing on the movie industry. Would it account for GOOD MOVIES doing better as well? "HEY THIS movE ROX"

The movies this summer sucked, bad. Gigli, the Hulk (which wasn't terrible), Terminator 3 (again, not terrible), American Wedding, etc, are all going to be dwarfed by such fine examples such as My Boss's Daughter, the Medallion, etc.

I suppose that they have to blame it on something. Mass marketing full of smoke and mirrors can't save bullshit. Let's cut out the teen-heart-throb actors/actresses (My Boss's Daughter) and get back to plot, script, and real entertainment.

Just my worthless .02

Oh Great (1)

andyast (172693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737524)

Pretty soon the MPAA will be limiting out ability to speak. :)

Give me a break, text messaging is causing movies to do well? Maybe they need to just face the facts that the movies they produced were crap. Well just my two cents.

Andy S.

subpoena mobile carriers (1)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737525)

MPAA/RIAA/M$ Okay next on list Subpoena mobile carries get the address of SMS senders and send Legal crap to the great great great grandparents of these users. That ought to get them scared.

Word of mouth (1)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737526)

Its called word of mouth, and has been about since theatre was invented. Texts probably spread slower than people talking to each other, because it costs so much to send bulk messages to your 20 "closest friends" if you are on a pre-pay package (as most teenagers in the UK are).

Cut to the chase (2, Funny)

Gefiltefish11 (611646) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737527)

The MPAA should skip over a ban on text messaging and simply ban the formation of negative opinions of their movies. Problem solved. Next time you go to the movies, just be sure you shave your head ahead of time so it's easier for the MPAA probe team to screen your thoughts.

Re:Cut to the chase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737617)

cool...they do that with software
licensing now...you can't review
the s/w, or benchmark it, until
you get permission...

We will like it. (1)

Ikeya (7401) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737532)

This sounds really great! I mean, just think, if the MPAA tells us that a movie doesn't suck and that we can't tell our friends that a movie sucks, all the movies in the future must be good, right? Or perhaps, they'll claim that texting is in violation of the "please turn of the cell phone" clauses in theaters. Hmm... sounds great to me!

Movies (1)

Luigi30 (656867) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737536)

Today, text messaging. Tomorrow, movie review places. The future: Saying anything bad about a movie gets you live in prison!

Delusional ranting (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737538)

When will those pesky consumers learn to sit still and mindlessly consume the inane drivel we're putting out?

Well then... (1)

BigDork1001 (683341) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737541)

they better blame reviews in the paper and on tv too. Also better go after all the web sites that I check for reviews. Oh yeah, and don't forget word of mouth. That's bad too.

From now on when you go to a movie you'll have to sign a slip saying you won't say anything bad about it.

This is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737543)

Perhaps movie companies will FINALLY be forced into making BETTER movies (IE ones that people will want to see).

No more reviews? (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737544)

So they don't want us to tell others what we think about a movie we've seen?

What are they, insane?

I guess that isn't news...

Wow (4, Insightful)

Uruk (4907) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737545)

I'd bet that they have the market research to back this up, (if there's one thing that Hollywood doesn't fool around with, it's market research on their targeted demographics) so I would tend to believe the industry on this one.

Of course, this has nothing to do with texting, it's more about instant communication, which they can't do anything about. I suppose they could pressure theaters to disallow cell phones on some other grounds (people can't learn to turn them off during shows. That's a legitimate complaint - they really can't).

This reminds me of the music industry though. What they say in the article is that companies are used to being able to "buy their gross" and avoid negative word of mouth. That, in a way, is a business model. And just as the music industry will have to change their business model to succeed in the face of music sharing (REGARDLESS of whether or not they are able to contain it) so too will the movie industry have to make some changes.

I am fat. (1, Funny)

Judy Branch (699644) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737547)

Hello. I am very fat. You too can save money on eBay.

BitTorrent (2, Funny)

leinerj (115797) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737548)

Quick, someone setup a BitTorrent so we can download all the text message reviews since they will be illegal soon.

Wow. (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737549)

According to this article their entire livelihood banks on paying enough money so that they can sucker people in before they read about how much the movie sucks. That seems almost criminal.

Funny (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737550)

I don't remember telling anyone, by texting or by any other way, that the great movie I saw sucked, don't bother seeing it. Now if the film sucked....

I, for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6737551)

think the MPAA deserves a punch in its tiny little balls.

By watching this movie, you agree to the following (3, Funny)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737552)

"By accepting the terms of this license to watch the following movie, you agree to not say anything bad about the movie. If you cannot accept the terms of this license, please leave the theater now and ask for (but don't expect to receive) a full refund of your ticket price."

First the music industry decides to sell us justin timberlake dogshit, the economy goes sour and their sales go down and they sue us. Then the movie industry decides lesbian jennifer lopez mafia hitwoman movies with ben affleck are what the people want, the economy goes sour and their sales go down... can we expect any less from jack valenti?

Dear lord! (1)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737557)

Imagine! People telling each other your movie sucks!

The horror! Quick! Ban people from spreading the word!

Next cause on the list... Mouths... (1)

Veldcath (591080) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737558)

Once the MPAA bans texting, they'll ban cell phones outright. Then they'll have to ban mouths.

This move will be followed by banning Ears and Eyes, so you won't be able to experience how bad the movie is and will be willing to go back to not experience it a second or third time.

Shortcut (1)

geekmetal (682313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737559)

No, the executives are not blaming such bombs as The Hulk, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle or Gigli on poor quality, lack of originality, or general failure to entertain. There's absolutely nothing new about that.

Looks like, someone responsible for investigating the bad summer took a shortcut.

MPAA Banning Text Messages? (1)

TPIRman (142895) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737564)

I know the big media organizations have a justifiably bad rap amond slashdotter, but how does the story submitter imagine that MPAA could ban text messaging? Perhaps a kind letter would do it.

"Dear Telecom Equipment Manufacturer:

Your products' ability to 'text message' is interfering with our cynical behavior of 'buying our gross' -- that is, putting out an ad blitz to compensate for what we know to be an inferior product. Please disable text messaging so that both products can be inferior. Then: ????, Profit!

The MPAA."

I wonder if... (2, Funny)

NivenHuH (579871) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737565)

any members of the MPAA actually sat through Gigli.. I'm sure they'd retract their statements.. (or they'd text one another going.. 'eeps.. wtf were we thinking?')

wait... (1)

jimmyphysics (16981) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737566)

So this is a bad thing?

Seems that this might encourage studios to stop making crap.

Of course, judging by the kind of garbage that does well these days, there's probably no hope.

at least there are foreign films.



Instant Feedback (1)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737573)

Hooray for instant feedback. It's been generally considered that sucky movies did well because the average person has no taste in movies. Now maybe, just maybe, they'll discover it's just because the average person can't see beyond the hype. Consequently, maybe the sudios will try to make films to do well because of their own merits rather than because of the instant influx of hype they can generate.

And yeah, blah blah head in the sand, blah blah fight the symptom not the disease, but that only goes on for so long. Paradigm shifts are always like that, and ignoring reality can only go on so long. And I mean that in the Thoman Kuhn, Structure of the Scientific Revolution meaning, not the bastardized business meaning.


And the TRUTH shall get you in trouble... (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737575)

...set you free? Hardly!

With the guy who told the people that their privacy was in danger because of an unfixed bug in their email services, the "truth" did damage to the company and we can't have exposure for bugs, flaws and defects... oh no... that's just anti-american!

I wonder who will be the first person to be prosecuted for giving a movie a bad review? After all, they are responsible for the tremendous losses that the MPAA are suffering. It's not ONLY the digital piracy on the internet, but now people are spreading the truth (or opinions) around faster than can be controlled!!!

What ever happened to the idea of building a better mouse-trap?

Buy blind, or else. (2, Insightful)

citizen6350 (699527) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737579)

Obviously, if they spent enough money on marketing, people should like it right? I mean, thats what marketing IS. If marketing doesnt work, they'd have to rely on *gasp* _content_?!! Burn those infernal networks of informed consumers.

Give me a break (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737584)

Expect texting to be banned by the MPAA in the near future.

I sure hope you were joking because if you weren't you are an absolute fool, and so is anyone who thinks this might happen. This is obviously free speech and will be protected as such as long as the First Amendment is around. And to preempt the 43 l33t posts shouting "BUT THE DMCA", be aware that the judge in the case ruled that code has a functioning capability that makes it different from normal speech and so it won't always be protected. Obviously this is nothing like that, so you don't have to worry.

Of course, this will do nothing to prevent the onslaught of uninformed Slashdotters thinking that free speech "is a thing of the past" by coming up with all sorts of idiotic examples.

Yeah, go ahead and mod me down.

This just in.... (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737586)

The ANTIAMEN bill past resently outlaws all "Word of Mouth" and "Opinion" against the MPAA with members in TV, Radio, Movie, and Music. The new bill will also remove the "Freedom of Speach" from the constitution since it was found UN-constitutional.

How about applying same logic to the hits?? (1)

Sarvagya (696097) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737587)

If the MPAA can blame the text messaging for failed movies (and not on any other factor) I guess someone can apply the same logic and say that the movies which were hits and did well on the box office did so due to the same reason, i.e. text messaging by teenagers to others telling what a good movie it is. but oh well, I guess MPAA and logic, now thats a bit too much to expect, not!!

In a related story.. (1)

Zygote-IC- (512412) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737589)

English teachers all across the country blamed the dismantling of the English language on people who use "text" as a verb.

Quotable Quotes (3, Insightful)

DoomHaven (70347) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737590)

"In the old days, there used to be a term, 'buying your gross,' " Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, told the Los Angeles Times. "You could buy your gross for the weekend and overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to filter out into the general audience."

If that doesn't say it all, I don't know what will. Pretty much, Sands is saying that enough people will buy his product before the general public realizes his product is useless to break even.

What a *great* business plan. /sarcasm

Are IMDB numbers reliable? (1)

civilengineer (669209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737593)

I check a movies rating in www.imdb.com before i go to see it. It is generally reliable. (Anything over 7.0/10.0 is worth watching)
But, of late, I see that new movies open with high ratings at IMBD. Are the movie makers manipulating numbers to influence people like me?

This just in... (1)

Ever Dubious (686307) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737594)

...from the API wire: "Anomyous studio executives confirmed today that an agreement had been reached with Lockheed-Martin on a new, space-based, wireless messaging jammer. Sure, it'll cost us $100M to deploy, but it it lets us finally start making money on turds like Glitter and Gigli, well, it'll be a very profitable investment".

Texting defeats marketing strategy (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737595)

Hollywood studios don't make movies hoping that people will like them and tell all their friends and then their friends will see it and tell their friends and so on anymore. It used to be that a movie was successful when it stayed in theatres forever and built up a good box office take that way.

These days, Hollywood puts out pure garbage, and hypes the hell out of it, hoping everyone will be so hyped up about it they'll want to see it immediately after it's released. They count on the fact that people who go and see it won't be able to tell that many people it sucks until the opening weekend is already past, and they've raked in their millions, generated purely from marketing. After the multi-million dollar opening weekend ,the movie can fade into oblivion and the hollywood execs are too busy counting their money to care.

Here's an idea: maybe Hollywood could start making movies people actually want to see more than once, and make their movie that way.

This "texting" sounds dangerous. (5, Funny)

mcc (14761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737598)

However, I would imagine that hollywood is by and large safe because the majority of people do not have cell phones that support "text-messaging".

What we would really have to watch out for is if some technological renegade could come up with some way that "text messaging" messages could be encoded into normal speech, allowing people without even cell phones to "text mssage" each other warnings about bad movies simply by coming within a close physical radius. If that happens, Hollywood is doomed.

Although I am a bit perplexed. They suggest people did not go to see Gigli because these "text messages" warned them it was a bad movie. However, I do not have a "text message" capable cell-phone, yet I knew Gigli was a bad movie anyway, becuase all the media outlets I follow had been consistently running stories for two weeks before Gigli was released warning me that it was going to be a bad movie. Perhaps this "text messaging" of which they speak has somehow hijacked cnn.com and nyt.com, causing "text messages" warning of bad movies to masquerade as normal news? Wouldn't that be illegal? Hmm.

Clearly there is much to think about here.

what I'm not going to do (5, Insightful)

kootch (81702) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737599)

I'm not going to go to watch a stupid movie when it costs $20 without food/drinks for me and my woman ($35 if you get 2 tickets, 2 drinks, and a box of popcorn in NYC)

I'm not going to buy a cd when it costs $15+ for a cd of 8 tracks, 6 of which suck

I'm not going to listen to the radio since all of the radio stations I get are the same 30 songs in rotation, some at the same time

You know what I'm going to do? Pick up a book and go to the park. At least the view is nice (still warm enough for women in skimpy clothes) and there are still decent books to be read

If this will ban cell phones from movie theaters (1)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737601)

I'm all fucking for it. If you pay $10 to see a movie you should not be yapping on or typing on your cellphone; you should be quiet and watch the damn movie. Let them complain about you ragging on the movie AFTER you leave the theater. I really want to hear them complain about that, as that would be funnier.

The Death of the Captive Market (5, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737603)

The studios are relying on the fact that they'll get at least good sales on opening night even for a bad movie, as long as the marketing campaign makes it look good. Instead, the first viewers are warning their friends on Thursday and Friday nights "naw, go see something else, Gigli stinks." The Thursday/Friday night opening night crowds used to be a captive market.

It seems never to have occurred to them that some people might be texting to say "you have to see this movie!" for movies that didn't get the full court marketing press? And that the whole thing just cancels out (well, it would if there were as many surprise good movies as there are expensive bad movies).

Grassroots word of mouth is without a doubt the best marketing tool any product can have. If the word of mouth is against you, it's because you don't have good product.

Hmm... (1)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737604)

Well first of all The Hulk was very good. And second of all, if I won't text my friends that a movie sucks, I'll e-mail them, call them, or *GASP* tell them when I meet them.

Tough. (3, Insightful)

Chad Page (20225) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737605)

Word of mouth spreads a LOT faster than it used to. It means that the movie has to actually be good and/or at least properly entertaining to make it up to the $200-250 million range, which is how it *should* be.

Basically, if you properly market a good movie then it's not going to tank... and good riddence to the practice of pumping up mediocrity with a ton of marketing to get first weekend gross w/o legs.

IM (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737606)

D00D1! did u c that MooV Giggly? Bytz A77! CU 2nite for more chat. A/S/L?

Free Speech? (2, Interesting)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737608)

Isn't there an Amendment to some document somewhere that guarantees our rights to this, before and over-and-above anything a Corporation or Government entity thinks?

Too damned bad for the MPAA. Maybe the public has finally found the "killer-app" that will stop the flood of garbage coming out of the industry.

("Freddy vs. Jason"? For fuck's sake...)

Oh boo-f**king-hoo, cry me a river! (4, Insightful)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737609)

Make better movies. Your movies suck. Face it.
Get better actors, they all suck too.

You try to cover up the fact that the plot sucks ass and the actors are retard droolers by overloading the senses with loud ass music, shit blowing up and other gee-whiz special effects.

You are hoping that no one will notice the fact that the entire movie sucks.

I DARE you to make a movie without loud music and ANY special effects of any kind, CGI or old school. You won't because you can't.

You can't produce a movie that will stand on the fact that the plot is good and the actors are good because those days are gone.

Hollywood is washed up. Fold up and go home, we don't want your crappy movies any more.

Those Amazing Hand-Held Devices. (2, Funny)

joebok (457904) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737611)

Wow, if hand-held text-message devices are so incredibly powerful, just think what a hand-held voice-message device could be capable of! Quick - get me a patent application form!

Terminator 5 (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737614)

Perhaps in Terminator 5, Arnold Schwarzenegger will go back in time to a year before Terminator 3's opening weekend and lobby for legislation to ban wireless device use in theaters.

In fact, perhaps this is why he's really running for governor -- because he has seen the future and knows Terminator 4 receipts are going to hurt.

I think it's just... (4, Insightful)

Wraithlyn (133796) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737616)

...rapid communication in general that has been improved/enabled by our new fangled networks.

Like, an example is http://www.rottentomatoes.com. (No, not affiliated, :P) They will have links to dozens of reviews before a movie is even released.

When 40 out of 40 reviewers all say 'Gigli' is an abhorrent, unoriginal, poorly written, disastrous mess, I'm sure not shelling out moolah for a theatre ticket.

In "the old days" you'd maybe read a single review in a newspaper, which wasn't nearly as disuading as a whole battalion of naysayers all lined up.

NDA must be signed to attend movie (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737620)

If the MPAA had their way..

obvious (1)

mlknowle (175506) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737621)

er, 'The obvious answer is a tax on IM's and cell-based text messaging. Because it would be impossible to tell which users abuse the technology to spread negativity and damage the expensive-to-craft images of these movies, the most democratic thing to do is to tax all IM/text users. The fee would be small -- fractions of a penny per message -- adding up to a few hundred dollars per year. Such a fee would help compensate artists and theater owners for the loss incurred.'

(Then again, they might really listen to me...)

No. (1)

fireduck (197000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737623)

The problem, they say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films - sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching - and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend.

this is absolute bull. Gigli was receiving horrible reviews months before release. Online, on television, in various newspapers. The week before the movie was released I don't know how many articles I saw regarding how bad this movie was. I knew it contained such gems as "it's turkey time. gobble gobble" at least a week before it was released.

IM influences the 1 other person on the other end of the line. A bad review in the news media is there for the entire world to read.

In related news, free speech is also banned. (1)

rushfan (209449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737624)

Realizing that free speech, although constitutionally guaranteed can pose a risk to marketing campaigns, propaganga, and other outright lies. The MPAA has already began buying^H^H^H^H^H^H^H talking with various senators and congressmen to reach a solution to this so-called "first amendment" clause which seems to be causing the MPAA so much grief lately.

This is yet another example... (2, Informative)

Phydoux (137697) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737626)

... of how the Internet and the way that it connects people together is causing big changes in our culture both at a national level and globally.

I'm not saying that IM is solely responsible for the "lackluster" showing of movies, like the article insinuates.

When I think about it, the Internet really has changed my way of life. Of course I was always into the online scene (I frequented Quantum Link on my C64 back in the day, and enjoyed the online communities on BBS systems.) With the Internet I'm even more plugged-in. I can't remember the last time I send an actual paper letter via postal mail. I hardly watch TV news anymore; I get my news on the 'net.

The Internet really has been and will continue to be a driving force behind cultural changes. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can either hop on and enjoy the ride, or fall behind the times.

In other news (1)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737628)

In other news mobile carriers thanked the movie industry.

And so goes the invisible hand (1)

lavalyn (649886) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737630)

that these corporate entities bow down to.

The hand of capitalism has decreed that movies that suck will not make money.

And the solution? Ban capitalism. No, seriously, make movies that don't suck.

An innovative and creative exercise for those in Hollywood these days.

Obligatory Scooby-Doo reference (4, Funny)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737634)

"Industry executives say that this undermines a carefully crafted marketing image."

So they admit that their product stinks, but through the use of "carefully crafted" marketing they can make people think junk = treasure. But that plan only worked as long as they could keep word of mouth from spreading too quickly. In other words, they don't like reality, but prefer their crafted message designed to fool people into seeing garbage.

And it would have worked too if it hand't been for you meddlin' kids!

Missing Out (1)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737635)

No, the boy bands aren't beginning to fail because they are created not by people who simply love music, but created to fit a specific formula to have mass appeal with lyrics that mean nothing.

Or the media singing creations like Britney and Christine are suffering a backlash and lower CD sales because their listeners are beginning to recognize them not as artists, but as glammed up beauty queens made to appeal to the most common denominator.

Movies aren't failing because they have canned stories that can be anticipated by a 5 year old, from the "Ultra-pretty female scientist who never picks up a bunson burner" to the "totally evil corporate guy that you cheer when he dies though you know it's coming the first time he does something so impossibly stupidly evil you know he wouldn't last 5 minutes in the real business world".

No, it's not because more people - not all, and in some cases, not enough - are beginning to tell their friends "Hey - you know [Insert Movie Here]? It's not that great. Yeah, don't see it." because the movie really isn't that great - it must be because they're bypassing the marketing system that is meant to polish shit and sell it as gold.

I'm really not too concerned, because in the end, "money talks and bullshit walks". The now gone Filthy Critic [bigempire.com] may have been a foul mouth bastard - but he was usually pretty spot on about calling a turd a turd, and giving praise when it was deserved. Compared to many "movie critics" who sound like paid whores (or, in the infamous Sony case, are totally made up to give bad movies a good name **cough**Freddy Got Fingered**cough**.

Word of mouth of viewers is becoming more powerful all the time. Look how low budget movies like "Bend it like Beckham" are doing better than expected thanks to word of mouth (which I actually thought was pretty good - though I can't figure out why all the ads feature the white girl Jules as the main attraction when she's not the main character).

If we're lucky, movie studios will realize that it makes more money to make a really good movie that people will want to talk about and recommend to their friends - than have sloppy, lazy writing that doesn't really entertain - it just numbs.

Eh - but that's my own take on recent movies. I could be wrong.

Makes sense. (1)

fishybell (516991) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737636)

I think they're right. If no one knew that the movie wasn't up to par, everyone would have to believe the hype.

There are 3 aspects of a profitable movie, in order of precedence:
- Marketing the movie.
- Making the deal.
- Making the movie.

This is nothing new. It's been this way since movies were commercially viable. I'm sure the same held (and holds) true to movies' predecessors, plays, operas, symphonies, etc.

Finally, politeness! (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 11 years ago | (#6737637)

If you'll read the article, you'll see that people are texting *from inside the theater* while the movie is playing.

So this should be read as spectacular news! Texting may be the solution to idiots with cell phones in the theater!

The question remains, if you text "FIRE" in a crowded theater, is that free speech?
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