Hollywood vs. Drudge

In THR, Gregg Kilday excoriates Drudge for interfering with the sacred natural processes of the holiday box office grosses. You see, Christmas movie releases are a force of nature: capricious, unpredictable, and untamable, like the winds over the Great Plains. It’s pompous folly for us to try to predict, or even comprehend:

At one holiday gathering this past week, when the conversations turned to movies, one friend mentioned that her sister said she wouldn’t be going to see “Kong.” When he asked her why, her woman replied, “Because I read on Drudge that it was bombing.”

In fact, the always hyperventilating Drudge Report first responded to the early, ecstatic reviews of “Kong” by reporting unrealistic expectations that it could challenge “Titanic” as the biggest film of all time — a feat that no movie has come anywhere close to since “Titanic” set sail in 1997. Then, on Dec. 16, Drudge headlined the first reports of “Kong’s” less-than-record-breaking first day with the ominous words ” ‘King’ Bomb?”

Now, if there’s someone out there saying she doesn’t plan to check out “Kong” simply because Drudge was erroneously hinting it was dead-on-arrival, it’s quite possible that person never seriously intended to see the movie in the first place.

But the anecdote also suggests that in this media-saturated moment, Hollywood doesn’t just have to worry about genuine word-of-mouth coming from moviegoers who actually attend a movie before spreading the word — good or bad — it also has to defend against secondary word-of-mouth based on little more than a half-baked opinion or a snarky headline.

So remember, people, don’t decide what movies you’re going to see based on “secondary word-of-mouth” or “half-baked opinion.” Instead, decide how to spend your time and money by watching advertising and consuming publicist-planted media stories. Otherwise, you might avoid seeing a movie that you probably won’t enjoy!