Top 10 Ways to Upset Film Fans (a.k.a. How to Lose Friends and Alienate Moviegoers)
Top 10 Ways to Upset Film Fans (a.k.a. How to Lose Friends and Alienate Moviegoers)

“True friends stab you in the front.”

– Oscar Wilde

 
 

There are countless ways to ruin a movie, many of which go unnoticed by casual audiences. It’s particularly unpleasant, however, when money-grubbing tactics are conducted upon longtime fanatics or intensely loyal moviegoers. Facetiously speaking, this is the essential guide for movie studios to learn the best methods for crushing the hopes and dreams of film fans everywhere. Producers and executives, take note!

 

1. Get your multitude of fans’ hopes up for a specific film … then kick them where it counts with a bunch of lawsuits (many of which aren’t about money, but about demanding that the movie never gets released).

Hilariously, the television show “30 Rock” spoofed the making of a Janis Joplin biopic, in which the corporate bigwigs couldn’t secure the artist’s life rights, resulting in a title change from “Janey Jimplin” to “Jackie Jormp-Jomp.” Curiously, a real Joplin biopic has been in talks – and then lawsuits – since 2010, originally having Amy Adams and Jean-Marc Vallee attached. More notoriously, a project like Jerry Lewis’ “The Day the Clown Cried” was halted due to legal battles, as well as Lewis’ change of heart (the picture is supposedly unwatchable and of the worst possible taste); “The Hangover Part II” was sued over Mike Tyson’s face tattoo; “The Hobbit” series was in a tumult over rights issues and then unpaid royalties claims; “Watchmen” was held hostage over multiple production companies demanding a piece of the pie; and a star from “The Human Centipede” apparently became too big-headed to take on a role in “The Human Centipede 3” (which probably wouldn’t have been much of a loss). More recently, the Mad Max series has been caught up in legal woes, despite “Fury Road” raking in considerable profits – alongside critical acclaim.

Runner Up: Delay your movie that has a ridiculously large following (such as “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which wasn’t supposed to take two full years after “The Order of the Phoenix” before hitting theaters, but, hey, it’s only a colossal fanbase that will get upset).

 

2. Discover a good idea … then run it into the ground with an infinite amount of crappy sequels.

Not everyone liked the first “Saw,” but enough people recognized its unique, sadistic creativity, to catapult it to commercial success. Now we’re plagued with a new, terrifyingly subpar chapter every Halloween – perhaps until the end of time. Horror films in particular suffer this fate – from Freddy Krueger’s pictures to Michael Myers’ frequent re-imaginings to Leatherface’s misadventures to the annual Purge. And “Star Wars” will likely be joining that list shortly.

 

3. Add a long-awaited new entry into one of the greatest franchises of all time … but make it complete and utter garbage.

Remaking it works, too. Indiana Jones was pretty finite; the Ghostbusters could’ve gone without reinvention; and how in the world did “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” manage to be worse than “AVP”?

 

4. Remake a movie (or even your own movie) … shot-for-shot.

Everyone knows about Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho” fiasco. And while 1952’s version of “The Prisoner of Zenda” is a lesser-known victim of this type of redo, it’s Michael Haneke’s remake of his own movie, “Funny Games” (shot-for-shot and line-for-line), from 2007, that really takes the cake. Maybe the funny games Haneke was playing was with his bank account, as the film only made back about 1/5 of what it cost to make. But then he made “Amour” in 2012, which not only won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but it was also nominated for Best Picture!

Runner Up: “Bangkok Dangerous.” The Pang Brothers remade their own film in the same decade, albeit in a different language. And they didn’t make it better.

 

5. Be an awesome movie director … and then go AWOL for 12 years.

James Cameron created some of the most beloved sci-fi masterpieces of all time (including “The Terminator,” “The Abyss,” and “Aliens”). After making “Titanic,” which was, at the time, the highest grossing movie ever, he took a 12-year hiatus from blockbusters, before helming “Avatar” – yet another highest-grossing movie of its day. Then, almost impossibly, he did it again, ceasing to release epics for a scheduled 11 full years. Perhaps when he finally releases an “Avatar” sequel, it will be the first of a 20-part series (all filmed simultaneously). The Wachowski Brothers (now sisters, apparently) are another good example, having directed the revolutionary Matrix thrillers, ending in 2003, before waiting five years to do a colorful kids film, and then fizzling out with the originality-bankrupt “Cloud Atlas” and “Jupiter Ascending.”

 

6. Be a comedic genius … and then star in other people’s totally unfunny movies.

Simon Pegg cemented his stardom and his acclaimed brand of dark comedy with the immensely popular “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” both of which he co-wrote. Then he starred in “Run Fatboy Run.” Which was awful.

Runner Up: Ricky Gervais. After creating the revolutionary television show “The Office,” and following strongly with “Extras,” Gervais starred in “Night at the Museum” (and its sequels), “For Your Consideration,” “Stardust,” and “Ghost Town.” Now those aren’t exactly bad movies, but they didn’t allow the funnyman to showcase his true hilarity.

 

7. Let Uwe Boll make a movie … from your video game.

The notorious director has slaughtered “House of the Dead,” “Alone in the Dark,” “Bloodrayne,” “Dungeon Siege,” and more. He has been called the Ed Wood of our times. And though he may not be the worst director of all time, well, he’s gotta be pretty close. And a couple of those titles garnered sequels!

 

8. Make a highly anticipated sequel … but kill off all your core characters and start from scratch.

“Alien 3” did this, much to the dismay of fans (its production was plagued by so many problems and delays that it’s not really surprising that nothing would transfer over to the finished product save for Ripley). If the end result wasn’t bad enough, awash with morbid discontent and a mean spirit, Ridley Scott opted to do it all over again with “Alien: Covenant.” And that wasn’t even to rid himself of the baggage of a previous director!

 

9. Replace a cast member … partway through a series.

“Back to the Future” did this thanks to a crazy actor (Crispin Glover), as well as by the request of the actress being replaced (Claudia Wells, who had to deal with an illness in the family); Rachelle LeFevre got the axe after two films in the “Twilight” saga; Terrence Howard was conspicuously switched with Don Cheadle, beginning with the second “Iron Man” movie (similarly, Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk in “The Avengers”); and even Katie Holmes wouldn’t come back for “The Dark Knight,” despite the incredible success of Christopher Nolan’s first Batman endeavor.

 

10. Turn a beloved book … into a terrible movie.

This might be the most common way to upset fans, but it’s bound to be the most enduring method as well. Modern horrors include “Eragon,” “The Dark Tower,” “The Lovely Bones,” and “The Time Machine” (2002), but Hollywood has been slaughtering literary masterpieces since long before that. See “The Black Cauldron” (1985), “Lord Jim” (1965), and “Carrie” (1952), just to name a few.

 

– The Massie Twins