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Fox Fires Columnist For 'Reviewing' Leaked Copy Of Wolverine

from the calling-more-attention... dept

Last week, we discussed why it looked like movie studio 20th Century Fox was overreacting to the leak of a workprint copy of the upcoming movie Wolverine. The studio could have easily used the leak to get good publicity. Instead, it's freaking out and rushing around trying to blame everyone. The latest person caught in the crossfire? A columnist for Fox News who downloaded the leaked copy and wrote a review... Since both 20th Century Fox and Fox News are owned by News Corp., the studio flipped out and the writer, Roger Friedman, has supposedly been fired. For what? For actually admitting that the movie was out there? It's not like it hasn't been all over the news. For calling more attention to the fact that the movie can be downloaded? Firing Friedman seems to be getting a lot more attention than the review actually did. Once again, just because you have the legal right to do something about infringement, doesn't mean it makes any sense. Here's yet another case of a Hollywood studio letting its legal rights override common sense, and because of that, it's harming its own reputation.


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  1.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    At first I didn't care

    After Xmen 3 I didn't give two craps about the new one, until I got my hands on it. I watched it and now me and my roommate are going to see it when it comes out in theaters (as long as I can find one of those digital ones) and will be picking it up on Blu-ray. Score 2 for piracy and the MPAA (see everyone can win).

    It's interesting to see how much is CG and how much is real. It's also interesting to see how little is CG in a movie like this.

     

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  2.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 8:10am

    Re: At first I didn't care

    Oh crap! Here comes the Fox execubots. Come to punish those who point out the realities of life.

     

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  3.  
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    Ima Fish, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 8:18am

    This whole debacle gives a real life example why so called "legitimate" news is actually worse than blogging. Bloggers can report the truth. (I'm not saying bloggers "do" or "will" report the truth, only that they are free to do so.) However, "legitimate" news is always tied to their corporate interest.

    It simply makes no sense for Fox news to ignore this huge story, that the movie Wolverine was leaked, and pretend it never happened. All this is doing is putting yet another nail in the coffin of "legitimate" news agencies.

     

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  4.  
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    JL (profile), Apr 6th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Studios freaking out

    Listening to Howard Stern over the past week a caller called in and said he mailed Howard a burnt copy of the movie. The studios heard that and freaked out. They called and emailed him and his whole staff begging him not to watch it and promised to hand deliver a DVD once the whole movie was finished. Howard has said he has no desire to watch a bootlegged copy, but since the studio over reacted he got to talk about the fact the movie was available to his 12 million listeners, again.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Fox-Backpedaling-Roger-Friedman-Not-Fired-12638.html

    There are some reports that he wasn't actually fired. Maybe the whole thing is a media stunt, or maybe Fox was trying to save face at first.

    Either way, I have no plans to see this movie (I'm not even willing to hassle with a download). I heard they ruined Deadpool. Not from the leaked film, but from the toy line. Deadpool is a great character, and getting him right could have launched spin-offs that I would like to see.

     

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  6.  
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    Ima Fish, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:03am

    Re: At first I didn't care

    I don't get the love for the first two X-men movies. The first one was simply boring.

    While so many of the fight scenes in the second were contrived and were added merely to show off their powers. Like, "Let's have them start a fight for no reason in the cafeteria" or "Let's have them blow up police cars for no reason at their parents' house."

    But I have to admit, the opening scene with Nightcrawler in the second was pretty awesome. At least it had a point related to the overall plot.

     

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  7.  
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    B, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    There's a toy line for the movie? I dig Deadpool as well... where did you get this info? How would a toy line screw up the character?

     

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  8.  
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    The infamous Joe, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re:

    When I think "Deadpool" I never, ever, *ever* think "Ryan Reynolds".

    Never.

    I don't think the movie will do well because it's poorly written, but I think they'll blame it on this leak anyway.

     

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  9.  
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    Geoffrey Kidd (profile), Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    And this is important? Why?

    The studios long ago gave up telling stories and started assembling big "CG fests" and gosh-wow effects shots and calling them movies. As far as I can tell, Wolverine is another excuse to blow a hundred million dollars on everything but the writing and storytelling, and rake in money from people who want their brains deadened by big bangs, noisy fights, and CG special effects that are physically impossible in the real world.

    One good thing about Netflix, it lets you find and watch movies that are movies. Most of the good stuff these days is coming from foreign studios where the art of storytelling hasn't been buried by studio blockbusteritis.

    Maybe if we ignore those idiots they'll finally go away.

     

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  10.  
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    Greg, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    I'm not really seeing the outrage here. The guy admitted, in a company-owned news outlet, that he pirated that company's movie. What the hell did he think was going to happen?

    It was probably a bad idea to admit to pirating anything, let alone something made by a branch of the company that employs him. Yeah, Fox is over-reacting to the leak in that special way that only movie studios can, but I can't see how this was anything but a dumb move on Friedman's part.

     

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  11.  
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    interval, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Re:

    Couldn't agree more. Isn't the very fact that the film has been leaked news? Since when did news agencies become tools of the entertainment media fascists and not report news? Even if their parent company also owns the production of the leaked film. Firing the guy has only made him more infamous, obviously.

     

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  12.  
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    lulz, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    I agree, the employee was being a bit stupid announcing that he broke the law.

    But, instead of Fox firing him, they should have used the review anyway.

     

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  13.  
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    Mechwarrior, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Its more worrying that 20th Century Fox has sway over Fox News editorials.

     

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  14.  
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    Ryan, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    This is why its stupid to call it "pirating" in the first place? Did he steal it from somebody? Did he infringe on somebody else's rights, thereby making it more difficult for another to enjoy their own property? Did he even deprive Fox of a sale? No, he merely investigated a news-making event, which should be the whole point of, you know, a journalist. But because he viewed "contraband", he is declared a "pirate" and allegedly terminated. The whole point of this post is that in no way does this help Fox. The movie is out there--deal with it. Putting your head in the sand doesn't make the world go away.

    Was it a dumb move to do this without permission? Yeah, if his primary priority was job security. But it illustrates the idiocy of file-sharing's negative connotation, that he can merely view a movie at no harm to anybody else for the purpose of covering the news and be fired for it.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    employee did a dumb move and deserved to be fired HOWEVER this is not a way to deal with high profile cases! You don't want your company to look like an overbearing monster and you can get away with a lot. (see Google)

    A better way to go about it was delete the review, tell the employee to refuse questions about it and pretend it never happened. Then just tug on the employees choke chain a bit to let him know he pissed off the wrong people.

     

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  16.  
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    Danny, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ditto. Fox can cry foul all it wants but they know good and hell well they will use this leak as an out if the movie tanks.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    I saw some pics of the playmobil (or some other kids line) a few months back.

    They had deadpool having a wolverine like claw coming out of his arm, and it looked like his eyes glowed. Also, the damage to his skin seemed to be from surgical operations.

    Here's a link to another toy. I can't find the original one I saw.
    http://www.10mfh.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/deadpool.jpg

    Either way, it looked like they took a character with a decent following and ruined him for the movie.

     

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  18.  
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    Paul, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Being Fired

    Agree with the last few folks, but I'm not surprised he was fired. In most bigger companies, especially in media and entertainment, there are very clear company policies known by all that prohibit all kinds of activities, especially ones that can get the company sued. I have to believe that News Corp has a strict policy against piracy using company resources. In my own company, anyone caught downloading a pirated movie would almost certainly be fired.

    I doubt the bloke got fired because of the review -- he got fired for putting News Corp in a position where they could be sued by 20th Century Fox. And that's a problem no media company ever wants to get in.

     

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  19.  
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    Weird Harold's clone, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    W00T!!!

    PARTY AT MY HOUSE TONIGHT TO CELEBRATE THE DEMISE OF SCUMBAG REPORTER!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    B, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm... well that guy honestly looks like that mortal kombat minion guy with the blades... not deadpool. If they end up dressing deadpool up like that, yeah, it's going to be dumb... but I didn't get any indication of that from the preview

     

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  21.  
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    TJ, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 5:48pm

    The encouragement factor

    Mike, since you had questions, consider this: Yes news was already out there about the leak. However, surprisingly, most fan sites had agreed not to review it and the msm generally wouldn't. However, by reviewing it and saying it was good, not only did the reviewer imply it was okay to watch, he told potential downloaders it was worth seeing. The fear would be that affecting the box office. A negative review would have been even worse, but likely in this case the studio was best served by no review.

    I think it is all stupid and sad, but there you are. The reviewer was also very naive to do so when working for the studio's sister company, when it is well understood most executive have tiny brains and constantly have rulers out to measure "themselves" against other execs. Once an exec publicly declared 'off with his head', no doubt he'd move heaven and earth to make it so.

     

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  22.  
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    terry21, Apr 6th, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    i think you are overreacting to fox's decision to fire the guy/the leak of the movie in the first place. what do you want them to do? not try to control how their movie is viewed? it should be viewed in the way they intended it to - with all sfx final, etc. also, what did friedman expect? he's a tool. show me a person that would want to get a drink with the guy who said that dark knight made him think too much, and i'll show you a liar.

     

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  23.  
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    Valkor, Apr 7th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    If Fox should have fired this reviewer for anything, it should have been for writing an utterly crappy review without any substance at all.

     

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