Entertainment Today and Beyond

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WOLVERINE stolen work print scandal ESCALATES with the reported firing of columnist Paul Friedman

wolverineposter-41The fallout over the stolen unfinished work print version of Fox’s upcoming X Men Origins: Wolverine film continues to build steam as freelance columnist, Paul Friedman, was reportedly (at least according to Nikki Finke) fired by News Corp for reviewing the film on his 411 Fox blog site after he downloaded it on his computer last Wednesday night. While I don’t have any problem with him talking about how easy it was for him to find the material and discuss the issue of piracy, it was clearly a crazy lack of judgment for him to actually review what he saw. The fact that he gave the movie a positive rave is no excuse for encouraging such behavior and, considering he writes for Fox.com, makes the matter even harder to understand.

Friedman wrote in his column “that the cat is out of the bag, the genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back ”so he obviously felt he was not doing anything wrong as the print was out there for all to see. He also mentioned in a humorous throwaway line in his commentary that he might stay home and watch “I Love You Man” because he didn’t want to go out in the rain. That’s something a kamikaze blogger would write, not a seasoned and very smart paid journalist which, by all accounts, Mr. Friedman is. The blogosphere has become the Wild Wild West and many bloggers and sites will take all sorts of crazy risks in an effort to be the first to get a review or break a story. AICN certainly has made its name off that concept. The famous Harry Knowles review of “Attack of the Clones” off a stolen copy he viewed in a hotel room is now legendary. In this newest case, it was pure Russian roulette and Friedman shot himself in the head. His decade long paid gig is now gone.

As for the piracy issue, it continues to escalate with numerous sites offering feature films currently playing in theaters that can be downloaded illegally for free. Not to mention the bootleg DVD’s that are sold on street corners in every major city. This problem has become very hard to manage for Hollywood. While no one can accurately predict how this leak will affect the box-office of “Wolverine”, it’s clearly something that has rattled the studio and Hollywood in general. Many of the posts from fans on the net who watched the unfinished film have called it mediocre at best, which could translate into a runaway train of bad buzz a full month before the film hits theaters. That’s pretty tuff damage to control and the biggest problem the studio has in front of it. There’s little doubt at this point that Hollywood knows it will lose some business from those who watch bootleg material and its part of their performa in evaluating their business model. The one thing it needs to avoid is bad word of mouth spreading across the net like wildfire because a $100 million dollar film is stolen and leaked online. Sometime in the next few years I still believe studios will release all films in theaters and on pay per view the same day. I could be wrong but I think that’s the direction they will eventually go in. If it can be found online the temptation is too great for some to just click a button.

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April 7, 2009 - Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News | , ,

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