Instant Messaging Killed the Movie Star

I’m still waking up, so I’m not quite ready to respond to the increasingly rich identity thread that has been winding its way across the Wordherders community and beyond. I’ll come back to that later. I promise.

But for now, I just want to talk about a new way in which digital technology is affecting the economics of Hollywood. According to the Independent, word on the Hollywood street is that instant messaging is responsible for the box office failure of several high-concept duds, including The Hulk , Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and Terminator 3, all of which saw their grosses drop more quickly than past summer duds.

The folks who get paid to analyze such things don’t blame declining quality for the financial failures of these films; after all, Hollywood makes bad films all the time. Instead, they blame instant messaging teenagers who often alert their friends about poor quality films, sometimes while still in the theater. I think these claims are overstated, and I’m sure that film producers will find new ways to overcome these losses, but it looks like, for the “big” films at least, the first week is everything.

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