The latest creation in the Ass-Covering Studio Excuses R&D Dept. is the "Twitter Effect." Movies aren't making money, you see, because too many people are learning, 140 characters at a time, how bad they are.
Every new messaging has brought studio complaints about how they're being killed with "word of mouth." Before Twitter, it was text messaging, Facebook, MySpace, "the web," email and, for all we know, AOL, television, FM radio, the telegraph and the passenger pigeon, which prevented hucksters from getting people to hand over money for what they think will be a good show, but really isn't.
So, here's the latest incarnation: Did you tweet about your disappointment in a movie, like Bruno? Did all your friends tweet back in agreement?
According to social media specialists, Universal is mad at you for driving away 73% percent of Bruno's ticket sales! When movie-goers take to their micro-blogging sites and hurl instant critiques at helpless studios, all their marketing machinery is rendered impotent. Some of this summer's alleged victims have included Bruno, Land of the Lost, and Year One.
After mega advertising campaigns, months of free publicity from hungry media outlets (and web sites looking for cheap content!), specialists hired to create Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds, people insist on slagging summer movies on Twitter. Like, all Sascha and Universal wanted to do was expose the ugliness that lives in your heart through various stunts involving dildos and terrorists. Then you had to go off and mean about it. What's a matter with you?!
So how have the studios tried to harness the awe-striking a wrathful power of Twitter? Here's an example:
With Year One, Sony at first tried to get in on the action and created a promotional Year One twitter account that would cull all the posts tagged with "#yearone. Sad for Sony, though, most of those tags were attached to disparaging statements. So they tried to pivot and create their own Year One twitter meme!
But no amount of tweet co-opting could save the floundering flick (full disclosure, I have a soft spot for Biblical comedies that have fantastic Oliver Platt cameos, so I dug it — you're welcome, Sony!) But let's be honest here, Studios. Just between you and me, nobody else is listening right now: you really didn't expect that many people to go continue to see a shitty movie after it opened, right? You must have known that eventually people would talk. They'd tell other people how little they liked Will Ferrell screaming at the sky. Again. And though the time between seeing said shitty movie and then telling your buddies about how shitty the movie maybe has shortened thanks to twitter, you must have known from the beginning that you were pushing a shitty product.
So really there's only one way to combat the Twitter effect: Stop making shitty movies.
P.S. I really laughed during Land of the Lost! Sorry no one else did, Universal!