My Name Is Legion wrote:
Well, none of you all get paid to manage publicity or public relations.
Active disinformation can create problems of its own. If something that's made up as misdirection creates big negative response then there's a lot of pressure to walk it back and the game is up - much to the annoyance of the press. A second issue is that there are always folks in the press who know more of the real deal than they report.
Well, neither do you, so your opinion here has as much weight as ours. And there'd be just as much chance of a negative response as there is with anything that's actually in the movie that leaks.
Besides, I'm thinking mostly about cheap throwaways intended for Internet consumption, not press releases that would need to walked back. A shot of Kirk and Spock kneeling next to a Horta in a film that has nothing to do with silicon life forms can be easily dismissed as a joke on the set if it looks like it's getting out of hand.
And this approach pays dividends. Once the movie is released and you tell everyone what you did and how much fun it was, no one will ever trust Internet rumors associated with your movies again.
Hell, if I were him, I'd have deliberately blown a few thousand dollars of the budget on disinformation, hiring a few extras to come in at the end of shots dressed in Sikh turbans or green leotards and Gorn masks so that shots of those characters managed to find their way to the press.
"You own a home-made Police Box? I'll give you $800 out of my own pocket if you bring it down so I can have shots of Kirk and Spock checking it out leak to the Internet. I'll even throw in a copy of some artist's renderings of Archer's beagle as a Borg if you pinky-swear not to upload it anywhere until after the movie is released."
Remember all the Bennett-directed misinformation on TWOK? Multiple endings, Spock lives, Spock dies, Spock maybe does?
He called it throwing tin foil into the radar sets, I think. And he managed that without an internet, and for the most part, without any backlash during the theatrical release. But it only held till about a month prior to release, because The Tonight Show announced his death after the Kansas test screening.
If word hadn't leaked at that point, would crowds have been bigger or smaller? It still did what was the usual thing for TOS Trek films -- biggest opening weekend ever -- so there was curiosity beyond that initial question of Spock's survival (which seems like a much larger matter than the Cumberbatch character's identity, especially since the actor himself is at this moment in time probably more of a draw than the character name.)
remember that, now that you mention it, but was it fully intentional? What a chaotic time that was. But even a perfectly-managed disinformation campaign evaporates the day the movie is released. As soon as people see it, they'll talk about it and spoilers will spread.
But even if it didn't have a negative effect on TWOK, could there be a backlash as Dennis suggests? Before Star Trek: Nemesis
, there was a lot of negative chatter about it here and in other places online. Might that have contributed to its downfall? In that sense, maybe he's right; a cheap, fan-made Gorn costume intended as disinformation might spread the idea that the movie's production values are off.