Over the weekend, Mad Man Dan Price tipped me off to some on-set pics from the forthcoming PREDATORS. Now before you get on me for not posting them, let me tell you that the quality of these shots was poor, and it was obvious that they were not taken by an official set photographer. The pics showed up on an ALIENS VS. PREDATOR fansite, and if you want to see them, you can go check out our competitors’ websites.
Out of curiosity, I went back to the AVP website today.
And the pics were gone.
In their place was a tidy little "Images removed at the request of 20th Century Fox." This got me to thinking. A little deductive reasoning suggests that once sites brought attention to these pics, Fox decided to protect its asset, and yanked the pics they should technically own the intellectual rights to. In a society where the word "spoilers" has become a norm, Fox wouldn’t want the movie to lose its momentum with fans because all the elements of surprise had been removed. Case closed, right?
Not quite. When I take this one step further, it screams of hypocricy. Studios frequently post a full synopsis for every movie they make, and those summaries often give away 85% of the movie. Take into account, also, that at some point, Fox will likely send out official pics, so high powered sites such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter will print them for millions of avid film goers, both in print and on the net. Go on the IMDB, and you’ll find the full cast of PREDATORS, if Variety hasn’t told you about it already.
So why the secrecy? If the old phrase "Any press is good press" still holds, why remove the pics? Simple. Because 20th Century Fox didn’t post them itself. Sure, it’s fine if Fox spoils everthing in advance of its film. But for fans to do so? Clearly, Fox is throwing around its weight because it can. If Fox had released these pics, I can guarantee they wouldn’t have pulled them (and the quality sure would have been higher).
This leads to another set of questions: Do fans have a right to those pics? Would Fox have benefited from leaving the pictures up? Or would they actually do harm to the potential opening weekend box office? And if so, more so than Adrien Brody playing the Schwarzenegger role?
Food for thought. Let us know what you think.