Over Thanksgiving, sci-fi fans everywhere were stoked to find that a trailer for the upcoming Ridley Scott film Prometheus had been posted all over the internet. They were significantly less jazzed to learn that it was a badly bootlegged trailer, apparently shot with a handheld camera and featuring enough glare to blot out most of the picture. Still, what was visible was pretty exciting and reminiscent of the trailer for the original Alien, which Prometheus is intended as a quasi-prequel to.
Not everyone was happy to see the early footage though, including 20th Century Fox chairman Tom Rothman. Rothman told the press that the leak was “heartbreakingly unfair” to the finished product. We’re not sure why he’s worried. Most people are smart enough to understand that a grainy bootleg doesn’t represent what a finished film will look like, and if anything the hype generated by the trailer has boosted the film’s profile. Still, we appreciate his concern for the integrity of all of Fox’s cinematic art, especially since the last several years have taken a hammer to that sterling reputation. Here are nine Fox studios moments we found a bit more heartbreaking than the Prometheus trailer.
The original The Day the Earth Stood Still is a sci-fi classic that has aged beautifully. The story, dealing with an alien race that has come to wipe out humanity before we can harm other planets with Nuclear weapons, has an anti-war message as relevant now as it was sixty years ago. Naturally, Fox decided to remake the film, only this time leaving out the strong characterization or storytelling. When a Keanu Reeves performance is only the 4th worst thing about your film, you know you have a problem. Instead of just promoting a gem of its back catalogue with a nice new DVD release, Fox forced out this turd of a remake, which not only tanked at the box office, but will likely harm the original’s reputation in the memories of future generations of film fans.
Avatar was a fine film. Its massive success has generated some backlash, and it certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s an entertaining, watchable movie, if maybe a bit too long. None of this is heartbreaking. What is heartbreaking is that it was released in 3-D… and became the highest grossing film ever. This has inspired every studio, especially Fox, to churn it out their new action films in 3-D, whether they were filmed with that in mind or not. This may grab the studios a few extra bucks per ticket in the short term, but it is turning away film goers who either get headaches from 3-D effects or are tired of paying extra for an effect they don’t want. James Cameron made 3-D an essential part of Avatar, and he labored for years to make sure every shot was gorgeous. For most of the rest however, its a cheap gimmick that is fun for a few minutes and quickly becomes annoying.
As stressed out as they are over a leaked trailer, imagine how pissed off Fox was in 2009 when Wolverine was released on the net, in it’s entirety. Fox tried to spin it as an early work print with unfinished special effects, but there were few noticeable differences in the finished film. Worst of all, fans who were honest and paid to see Wolverine were rewarded with two hours of incomprehensible garbage that nearly sunk the X-Men franchise. As if Fox hadn’t already killed enough good will with X-Men: The Last Stand, three years earlier. It all worked out in the end, however, as the recent X-Men: First Class has righted the ship, and Fox has no doubt upped their security to keep such leaks from happening again. Except when it comes to bootlegged trailers.