News for Dec. 30, 2005

Half-baked Web sites set bad tone for films

12/30/05, 11:43 am EST - Xoanon

Gregg Kilday writes: LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's far too early to write any obituaries for "King Kong." As of Tuesday, the end of its first two weeks in release, Peter Jackson's remake had amassed $128 million (74.2 million pounds) in the U.S. and $153.6 million internationally, for a combined worldwide haul of $282.1 million. With those numbers, it's just about halfway home to recouping its $207 million production costs, give or take the added millions spent on marketing as well as the participations earmarked for Jackson. One of the problems for "Kong" is that the much of the media covers the box office battles with all the subtlety of colour commentators at a demolition derby. 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 December 16, Drudge headlined the first reports of "Kong's" less-than-record-breaking first day with the ominous words "'King' Bomb?" 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. [More]