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The Psychology of Spoilers

"We live in a spoiler society. How many times does somebody ask, 'Did you hear what happened?' And you say, 'No.' In that little moment, that person with information has power. I'm 100 percent certain spoilers are as simple as that." —Survivor host Jeff Probst

But also:

And yet, many leak consumers think they are driven by a more high-minded purpose. Some see spoiler sites as a pop culture version of Consumer Reports. For those who felt burned by M. Night Shyamalan's The Village and The Lady in the Water, looking for advance info about his next cryptopus, The Happening, doesn't seem totally unreasonable. Moreover, spoiler culture has exploded at a moment when cult pop has become blockbuster business. Many geeks feel downright entitled to know what Hollywood is doing with sacred cows like Star Wars and X-Men. Explains Mirko Parlevliet, whose is a hub for comics-to-film scoop: "Fans want to make sure studios are being faithful to the property" they fell in love with.

Naturally, few people in Hollywood agree with this rationale. For J.J. Abrams, creator of Alias and director of Mission: Impossible III, the growth of spoiler culture has become so alarming, he made a movie in response to it: Cloverfield. Abrams saw his monster flick ??? shot on the down low and marketed with coy, minimum-disclosure teasers ??? as a protest against an information overload era where "people think they've experienced things before they really have." Now the director is shooting the new Star Trek movie, and he finds himself at odds with rabid Trekkies who want to know "every gory detail about a movie that's still a year away." He respects their hunger, but is convinced they are better off waiting until May 8, 2009. "Learning raw detail and experiencing that detail as it was intended are two totally different things," he says. "I would argue that not knowing those details in advance is a more refreshing way to live when it comes to entertainment."


Jun 3, 2008 · posted by david · Link · 3 Responses
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  • Comments (3)
    No. 1 Bobby says:

    Saw em on !!! F'in Hilarious!

    Posted: Jun 3, 2008 at 12:16 pm
    No. 2 patrick says:

    it sounds like j.j. has been taking his talking points from vp dick cheney.

    trekkers do or don't trust his skills as a producer/director. but we don't need him or anyone else telling us what we "need" to know.

    besides, he is particularly wrong in this specific instance. that is because his studio, paramount pictures (which has long negected star trek, it's producers, actors and fans), has chosen to delay the release of the film for admittedly pure profit-motives. they've determined they might make more money on trek next year instead of this year.

    so, considering how long j.j.'s information-police now have to keep hard-at-work keeping secrets, it's not a reasonable request to ask fans to wait.

    i remember when the star trek producers actually respected the fans - even accepting scripts from them. now, they, and j. j. are just a bit too protective of the business they call star trek. the franchise.

    Posted: Jun 3, 2008 at 8:48 pm
    No. 3 Aaron says:

    i'm sick and tired of people feeling that producers owe the fans somthing, they are putting this togeather, they are risking their money on the chance to get profit, and they deserve a little respect for that. it's not your movie, it's theirs and if you don't like it then dont watch it.

    as much as you like to think as a fan, you do not own any bit of whatever you have fan loyalty towards. i respect this man's decision and i hope not a shred of information about this movie gets out to the self indulgent rabbid fanbase

    PS. profits make the world go round, you can't blame a business for trying to squeese every penny out of you, thats it's job and as long as you pay for the material you want you are sending the signal to them that you think it is all right.

    Posted: Jun 3, 2008 at 11:17 pm
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