Shazam! director David F. Sandberg tweeted that he hopes Captain Marvel will make “all the money in the world to shut some of these people up.”
I for one look forward to Captain Marvel making all the money in the world to shut some of these people up. https://t.co/j64py6QpDi
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) February 22, 2019
Sandberg’s tweet is in reference to an article from The Hollywood Reporter titled, “‘Captain Marvel’ and Why It’s Time to Stop Feeding the Trolls” by Richard Newby.
The article in question is one in a number of articles from numerous outlets that claims fans are “review bombing Captain Marvel with negative audience scores from accounts who haven’t seen the movie.” This is completely false. In fact, I’ll call it what it truly is. It’s a lie. Fans aren’t review bombing Captain Marvel because they can’t. They can only mark whether they are interested in the movie or not because the film hasn’t come out yet.
In fact, if you go to the Captain Marvel Rotten Tomatoes page it is extremely clear there are no reviews being posted. It simply shows a percentage of the audience who want to see the film. It currently sits at 37%.
You can also see that you can’t even give it a review score. You can only mark whether you are interested in seeing the film or not.
Nevertheless, Newby runs with this narrative despite the clear evidence he’s lying to his readers.
He regards these individuals as “trolls” and claims they are a “small but vocal population.” He doesn’t provide any evidence for this claim.
Newby then categorizes these so-called “trolls” into two categories. The first are people who are not happy with Brie Larson’s comments about reducing the number of white men on the Captain Marvel press tour and attempting to limit white men from reviewing the film. The second are individuals who were demanding a new Shazam! trailer from DC and Sandberg.
Newby decries individuals wanting a second Shazam! trailer stating, Sandberg “shouldn’t have to suffer trolls who think they know more about what a movie needs than he or a studio does.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty happy that fans were clamoring for a new trailer of your upcoming movie. It means there’s quite a bit of interest and hype surrounding your movie and people are looking forward to it.
In fact, Sandberg had some fun with folks’ clamoring for a new trailer.
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) February 14, 2019
He even admits he’s having fun with the trailer demands.
I just don’t have any specific trailer updates that I can share with you at this point. All I can do is have fun with it or say nothing. Most of the time I do the latter. But like you say, the movie is almost here, and it’s not like the marketing is going to slow down now. https://t.co/bWJIqIJ30j
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) February 20, 2019
It doesn’t appear he views the clamoring as harassment. Instead, he sees it as a fun opportunity to engage with fans.
Newby would then shift his attention to Captain Marvel. In what I can only describe as irony, Newby writes:
“Captain Marvel doesn’t have negative buzz surrounding its marketing decisions, but misleading headlines about Larson’s interest in creating a platform for women and people of color have brought misogynists, racists and all-around unpleasant people into a conversation that they should have no part of.”
— Rebecca Sun (@therebeccasun) June 14, 2018
“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to Dr Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”
And Captain Marvel does have significant negative buzz as seen in the people who are expressing that they don’t want to see Captain Marvel on Rotten Tomatoes. But Newby just discounts actual evidence as the work of “trolls.”
What’s even more galling is that Newby actually makes statements in direct contrast to evidence he provides.
He points to Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the idea that its box office grosses were not affected by fans responding negatively to the film. In another bit of irony, Newby notes that The Last Jedi made $1.3 billion worldwide, but that “significantly less than The Force Awakens’ more than $2 billion.” He simply ignores the fact that Solo: A Star Wars Story made less than $400 million worldwide and is considered a complete bomb. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter even noted that the film’s horrible box office take would “prompt Lucasfilm and Disney to reevaluate their strategy for the marquee franchise.”
“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films. “
While Newby’s article is riddled with falsehoods and no evidence to back up much of his statements, he does offer a critique of film critics:
“There’s another side to this case as well, which is small circles of film critics performing their own form of review bombing on social media by attempting to create a narrative that a film they didn’t like is maligned across the board by decent people and its only fans are racists, misogynists or those incapable of thought.”
He would also criticize websites who require trailers to write articles and stories.
“Trailers, and all the articles that they create, boost traffic. So if there’s no trailer for many of these sites to write about, then they’ll use that time to write about the lack of a trailer, to question why one hasn’t been released. In other words, they take ownership over something that isn’t theirs. This is then spun into suggestions that the film is in trouble, or that the studio is hiding a project it doesn’t have confidence in, which social media latches onto. It’s nonsense.”
What do you make of Shazam! director David F. Sandberg’s comments? Do you think his comments about wanting to shut up fans could effect Shazam!? What do you make of The Hollywood Reporter article he shared describing people who aren’t interested in seeing Captain Marvel as “trolls?”