Saw this in my news feed during the week, but didn’t follow up on it until yesterday:
High-Def ‘Hunt For Gollum,’ New Lord Of The Fanvids : NPR
The Hunt For Gollum is a 40min. entirely fan produced ‘prequel’ to Fellowship of the Ring. Made ‘unofficially,’ it’s possible that New Line, the Tolkien estate, etc. might object to it. I really hope they don’t (and imagine that if they were going to, they would have done so already). The film premiered today and is really quite good. In relation to Peter Jackson’s films, it’s fairly cliche in it’s set-ups, but the production values are impressive. It’s a great tribute to the entire franchise. Which leads to the real question when considering things like this: does it in any way hurt the franchise?
Hurt can be defined in many ways, not just causing direct monetary loss. An insidious form of harm comes from contributing to brand fatigue. In the case of LotR, I don’t see this as being a problem. Jackson’s films are six years in the past and del Torro’s The Hobbit is three years away. From MGM’s point of view, I would think that right now is a great time to have some free publicity. If anything, watching “The Hunt for Gollum” made me want to fire up my DVD player and watch the trilogy again. (And maybe think about purchasing the Blu-ray versions, I were inclined to do so in the first place.)
On a related note, it doesn’t seem like the leak of X-Men Origins: Wolverine hasn’t hurt it’s numbers. It’s projected to take 87M this weekend. This is not surprising. The people who went to the trouble of downloading the film are probably fan enough to go see it in the theater as well–many probably just to compare the differences.
This is what fans do; they consume ravenously until five films, three seasons, or two novels *after* the quality of a franchise has tanked. Then things might taper off a little. This is just an observation; I’m not saying the X-Men franchise has hit that point yet. I’m thinking more along the lines of Star Trek and The Wheel of Time. Actually, there in no other franchise like Star Trek. Star Trek encompasses six TV series, ten film, hundreds of novels, and a slew of other merchandise over a span of 43 years. All of that against a backdrop of unofficial material; the progenitor of fan fiction. And just when you think that perhaps maybe the market is over-saturated and the franchise is dying, it gets a reinvention shot. Wolverine will be displaced next weekend by JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, I have no doubt about that. No one trumps the Trek fans, and I have to wonder whether that’s because those behind the franchise have been as sublime about letting fans be fans.