The Media Are Helping, Not Hurting, Hollywood Success

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?
Copyright Debbie Cerda of Slackerwood, 2010

Copyright Debbie Cerda of Slackerwood, 2010

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.

Copyright Eva Rinaldi, 2012

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.

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4 responses to “The Media Are Helping, Not Hurting, Hollywood Success

  1. I found this very interesting. I always assumed that if the audience already knew what was going to happen, they wouldn’t see the movie. But I guess that can be related to how wildly popular book adaptations are. If people love a script, or a book, they will want to see more of it knowing that they will like the story. But I am still concerned with how these sites have the legal rights to post the scripts. Is there any legal action being done to prevent this from happening again?

  2. I agree that any press is good press even if it was “accidental”. It does sort of ring spoiler-alert but it also is evident that even if word gets out, interested fans will be content anyways. I do also agree with Hannah’s comment regarding legal action and rights of these sites for the posted scripts. Interesting.

  3. Hannah, many distribution companies take aim at removing sites that pirate video content, but as you may know, there are still plenty out there that get away with it. There was legislation that passed to make Hollywood films more secure during production, but that doesn’t mean that some of it doesn’t slip through the cracks and into the wrong hands. Many early drafts of scripts have different names if they are part of a popular franchise or are already hyped up by media attention, in order to divert people from pirating that content.

  4. Jennifer Gardner

    While I agree that extended clips can propel a movie to success, I have an issue with the fact that entire scripts are being posted online. The writers and producers work extremely hard on the scripts, and I don’t really think it’s fair that all of their hard work can be posted online.

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