Zombieland Director Goes After Fans, Doesn't Understand Popularity

from the treat-your-fans-right dept

Charles Vestal alerts us to the news that Zombieland writer/director Rhett Reese has apparently be using Twitter to shame people who were mentioning that they were watching unauthorized copies of Zombieland at home, declaring to each one: "You realize we do what we do for money, right? Same as you." This comes soon after we highlighted some directors and moviemakers have found success by embracing those who were downloading their movie, recognizing that it was leading to more sales.

And, in fact, at least some of the people that Reese called out complained that they had actually seen the film multiple times in the theater and planning to buy the official DVD once it came out as well. In other words, the reason the movie is downloaded so much is because people like it, and yes, they still are supporting the moviemakers.

So, what made Reese lash out at these fans? You guessed it. He claimed he had just watched the 60 Minutes episode on movie piracy -- the one that we debunked for being factually incorrect, and it resulted in him getting angry at these fans, without thinking through the fact that the download might not be a substitute. But, even after the fans told him they had seen the film multiple times in the theaters, he's complaining that this decreases the chances of a sequel getting made. Given the massive popularity of the film -- both in the theater and online -- that seems highly unlikely. As we've seen before, the popularity of a movie in unauthorized downloads closely correlates with its box office take in many instances. It's rarely a sign of "lost revenue," and quite often a good indicator of actual revenue. In fact, the details show that Zombieland has done amazingly well, already earning back much more than it cost. Reese has a strong and loyal fanbase who want to support him and a very successful movie on his hands. Rather than attacking them, he should look for ways to embrace them and give them more real reasons to buy.

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  1. icon
    Josh (profile), 11 Nov 2009 @ 6:09pm

    Bittorrent made me want to buy into the Z-land franchise

    Hey #2 - I just Twittered him a link here as well.

    This all makes me rather sad.

    Zombieland is easily one of my favorite movies of 2009. I've been heavily recommending it to anyone who will listen (it's an endearing indie-roadtrip film without too much action-horror). In fact, I love it so much, I've been considering hyping it via my social feed - which really says something because I go out of my way to avoid advertising.

    Here's my personal relationship with the film:
    * Opening weekend, downloaded the OK-quality cam version. Skipped the first and last parts, skimmed through the middle, kind of liked it but decided I wasn't in the mood to watch the whole thing.
    * Following Friday, put it on in the background while making dinner. Paid it more attention, got that it wasn't a "typical" zombie flick.
    * While eating dinner, I re-watched the middle hour and fully paid attention. Unusually, I actually let the movie play without any skimming.
    * After dinner, watched the "Bill Murray as Bill Murray" section several times in a row.
    * The next day, I grabbed a higher quality rip and watched my favorite bits again.
    * Then I read the Wikipedia entry, felt a real connection with the production and then literally started jumping for joy when I read they wanted to franchise the series - sign me up for the theme park ride, 2 t-shirts and the live experience.
    * Yesterday I started organizing a group trip for a midnight showing. I dislike the entire movie theater experience but though this would be a fun exception,.
    * Today I read this... but I'm still holding out hope.

    In addition to the standard "an artist I like isn't getting CwF/RtB" disappointment, I'm upset because Zombieland appears to be one of those rare works that would actually benefit from an explosion of franchising. But that's going to be a lot harder with creators battling true fans.

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