It has been a tumultuos couple of days for Zack Snyder and his army of fans.
A report by RollingStone.com claims that “bots and other inauthentic users” falsely bolstered the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign, misleading Warner Bros. as to how popular the movement actually was.
As you will recall, during production of the “Justice League” movie, director Zack Snyder was forced to stand down before completing the film, due to the untimely death of his daughter. Joss Whedon was brought in to finish off the film, reshooting many scenes and making a number of changes to the script. The theatrical cut of the film bombed at the box office, and an online movement was started demanding Warner Bros. allow Snyder to complete his vision for the film. In 2021 “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” premiered on HBO Max.
The Rolling Stone report claims that, according to two reports commissioned by WarnerMedia, at least 13% of the accounts that took part in the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut online campaign were deemed fake. Cyber experts agree that around 5% is normal for online trending topics.
Even if 13% were fake accounts, that still means that 87% were real people. It seems hard to believe that Warner Bros. would sink millions of dollars into allowing Snyder to complete his vision of “Justice League” only on the back of an online fan campaign.
It should be noted that a percentage of the Snyder fanbase has shown themselves to be quite brutal, with some fans posting death threats towards Warner Bros. executives during the campaign.
Rolling Stone also accuses Snyder himself of having hired a digital marketing company to “juice fan engagement” for the 2016 film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. The report claims that Snyder allegedly hired the marketing company to help boost the reputation of the film when critical reviews were less than glowing. Rolling Stone claims this was the beginning of the coming together of the hardcore Snyder fanbase and the introduction of social media bots being used in the campaign to boost Snyder’s projects.
The online campaign to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse continues across social media platforms.
I know some people love Snyder’s version of Superman but I hope for a total reboot from his version of the character. I just don’t think he understood what Superman is supposed to represent. Thankfully, Superman and Lois got it right (character wise at least)
Fan campaigns can be effective in change; shows that got one more season like the original Star Trek or Jericho, DVD/Blu-ray/streaming releases like the 60s Batman or Superboy/The Adventures of Superboy, and even alternative cuts of films like the Donner Cut of Superman II were, at least in part, lobbied for and the studios/networks were convinced that it was worthwhile by fan campaigns. However, my inner cynic doesn’t think that fan campaigns alone are why WB decided to release the Snyder Cut. I strongly suspect that a confluence of events had it make financial sense to support it at the… Read more »
Snyder’s version of Justice League was an improvement, more thematically consistent, but it still confirmed my feeling that he doesn’t understand Superman.
That’s separate from the shenanigans in the article, which are definitely unethical but not surprising. Studios were doing that kind of thing before social media – when a new leadership team took over, they would use the rumor mill to bad-mouth upcoming releases to make the previous leaders look incompetent.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Snyder films, but I enjoy them enough. I am certainly not going to shed a tear for the studio execs or Jon berg/Geoff johns. While I don’t think some fans definitely take it too far with death threats and such, to label the entire fandom as toxic is problematic to say the least.