Other than the whole struggling with tuition payments thing, I have at least two things in common with every other college student: I check up on my social media accounts regularly and I like movies. Revolutionary, I know. The thing is, when you go back to the whole, “I’m in college, so Washburn sucks up my money like a little Roomba,” you can probably deduce that I don’t see all the movies I want to. So, naturally, when I do decide it might be worth it to deal with Wanamaker traffic and the cost of a ticket, I check social media to fish around for information about the movie.
Hollywood is pretty aware that this routine exists, so much so that it pumps the equivalent of the net worth of a small country into filling up my feed with the release dates of the newest movie. That said, sometimes I think the average fourteen-year-old has something figured out about social media that the movie business hasn’t: that social media is a bit of a double edged sword.
For every Deadpool, where the ads in tandem with Ryan Reynold’s Twitter reassured fans of the foul-mouthed antihero that they would be getting a faithful adaptation, you have the Ghostbusters reboot, which made the monumentally asinine choice to publicly get involved in political drama during an election year, guaranteeing that half of an already riled America didn’t buy tickets out of sheer spite, months before the first trailer even dropped.
This is more of an argument centered around adaptations: Heck hath no fury like a fan scored by a bad adaptation. I mean, we are still bitter about that whole The Last Airbender debacle. It’s been years. YEARS. I mean, original movies can still win awards based on how pretentious it is, but adaptions, sequels, and prequels are so much more reliable to put butts in seats. It used to be that after a movie company wrote a script based off the back cover of a beloved book, people would still wander out to see the movie, and it took a few days of chatting over the water cooler for the general public to know if they were getting a ticket to a masterpiece or a flaming train wreck. Now, entire sites write up posts dedicated to a shadow that could indicate a set piece seen in the background of the boom guy’s Instagram post. Every frame of the latest Marvel trailer in analyzed. The point is, thanks to social media, people know months in advance if they will be seeing a movie or not. I mean, Disney sort of shot themselves in the foot when they told people three years in advance that their Mulan adaption would make Shang super arrogant and wouldn’t have “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
The easy answer to this would be to just make good adaptions of much loved properties, and then people wouldn’t stay home due to everything that the internet spoiled instead of seeing a movie they would have originally seen. I don’t have that kind of faith in Hollywood, though, so it might be easier to just tell movie marketers not to act like that one irritating person who takes ten pictures detailing how they eat a granola bar. If you can’t make good movie adaptations, don’t give fans on social media years of ammo to get upset about it.