Posted by Amanda Goodwin
In the age of blogging and social media, information is seldom private. But does that pose a problem for major motion pictures?
Last month, director Quentin Tarantino’s latest unproduced screenplay, The Hateful Eight, was leaked on Gawker.com. Gawker is a news site notorious for its over-the-line Hollywood gossip. The screenplay was published under Gawker’s “Defamer Blog” by an anonymous third party. Once posted, the script went viral and Tarantino was outraged, accusing Gawker of “predatory journalism.” He filed a copyright lawsuit against Gawker and halted production of the film indefinitely.
Copyright issues aside, self-proclaimed news blogs like Gawker might actually be helping the film industry. A study done by Japanese scientists suggests that the amount of online buzz a film gets, the more it makes at the box office. Whether this online buzz is generated by social media, or perhaps a leaked script, it should help the film more than hurt.
This is not to say that many news organizations or blogs actively seek out films to leak. But often, mere coverage of a film’s leak is enough to propel forward a movie’s success.
There have been numerous examples of films in similar situations. Scenes of Christopher Nolan’s superhero sequel The Dark Knight Rises were leaked online prior to the film’s release. The film became the third-highest-grossing film of 2012, and the ninth-highest grossing-film of all time, making over a billion dollars worldwide.
Other recent films that garnered remarkable success despite premature exposure include Oscar nominees Frozen, Her, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Any press is good press, and the film industry is arguably still alive thanks to the media.