With fake news on so many minds after today’s Donald Trump de-press conference, 20th Century Fox made some real news — about fake news. The studio is apologizing for its marketing ploy for Regency’s psychological thriller A Cure for Wellness that used made-up stories that tricked some websites. Among the bombshells were one about Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin in a Swiss spa and another saying Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show was a tribute to Muslims.
Fox’s marketing strategy going forward? Extreme vetting.
“In raising awareness for our films, we do our best to push the boundaries of traditional marketing in order to creatively express our message to consumers,” a Fox spokesman said today. “In this case, we got it wrong. The digital campaign was inappropriate on every level, especially given the trust we work to build every day with our consumers. We have reviewed our internal approval process and made appropriate changes to ensure that every part of a campaign is elevated to and vetted by management in order to avoid this type of mistake in the future. We sincerely apologize.”
Whether social media will accept said attempt at redress is unclear. Twitter fairly soiled itself over the ploy, which redirected fooled readers to a site plugging the movie. But of course, the whole “controversy” generated more publicity for Gore Verbinski’s film than any previous marketing had. Madonna would be proud.
A Cure For Wellness stars Dane DeHaan as an exec who is sent to a mysterious Alpine “wellness center” but soon finds that its miraculous treatments aren’t all they’re billed to be — and it’s sorta like Hotel California, checkout-wise. Jason Isaacs also stars. Have a look at the trailer here.
The pic opens tomorrow, but reviews have been less than stellar and the tracking remains unkind: It’s expected to make $6M-$8M this weekend.