10 Potential Blockbusters Killed by the Internet

Paramount’s upcoming film adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel World War Z was already smelling like a stinker — the $125 million production was originally slated for release this Christmas, only to be pushed back until next summer to accommodate an additional seven weeks of shooting and a third act rewrite by Damon Lindelof (because that’s what that guy’s best at, wrapping things up). That rewrite was eventually done not by Lindelof but by Cabin in the Woods co-writer/director Drew Goddard, and with the reshoots complete, the studio released its first trailer for the film last week. And the Internet went apeshit.

Responses on Twitter and film blogs were swift, damning, and nearly universal. The crux of them was that, simply, the film being advertised appeared to bear little to no resemblance whatsoever to the book it was ostensibly based on. “It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer,” writes Film School Rejects’ Robert Fure, “but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.” The book’s multi-narrative structure and elements of social commentary are, it seems, gone; the film’s story of a single protagonist taking on an army of fast-moving zombies looks less like World War Z than I Am Legend.

We’ll have to wait until next June to find out if this controversial trailer reflects the entirety of the film — and if the already poison buzz surrounding World War Z will crash its box office chances. But what has become clear over the past two decades is that the explosion of online film culture can hurt a film’s build-up as much as it can help it; though movie geek sites, Twitter, and even Wikipedia can help amass an audience, they can also keep one away. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten movies that the Internet may well have smothered in their sleep.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Michael Bay talks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by stuffwelike

Between his Transformers movies and the countless remakes of horror classics produced by his Platinum Dunes company, Michael Bay has never hesitated to tamper with (and usually ruin) geek-beloved properties. But he went too far earlier this year, when he announced that their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake was going to reimagine its title characters less as mutant turtles than as aliens. Fans went berserk, the usual “raping my childhood” hyperbole was launched, and Bay was forced to issue a statement, insisting that “fans need to take a breath, and chill,” so no worries, bro, they’re “just building a richer world.” It didn’t take, and Paramount ended up quietly cancelling the project last summer.