Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
I'm a fan of Entourage, I've watched every episode, and will continue to, as it's second season is not as slumptastic, as say The O.C.'s was. I've gotten the point that I Watch enough shows on such a regular basis (The Shield, Extras, Bullshit, The OC, Entourage, Arrested Development, The Mighty Boosh, and I keep an eye on Stella and Reno 911, even though both are decidedly hit and miss) that I can no longer lay claim that "I don't watch television." I guess I do, but just the shows I watch. And what the episode of Entourage and the success of Fantastic Four suggested it is that the internet has now cemented its ceiling.
Of course that could have been said in 2001, when the bottom fell out, but there was a time where it was so new and held so much sway that, like piracy is now, people would use it to explain away things that it may have had no bearing on. For me, my relationship to the internet is defined by movies, and one of the first sites I frequented was www.aintitcoolnews.com. And it was around that time that Harry and Co. slaughtered a little film called Batman and Robin. Warner Brothers blamed the internet (not the film) for its failing. Two years later, The Blair Witch Project, was another internet phenom (again, instead of seeing it as the success of a good idea). What the internet supposedly did was steer and create buzz. Which it does. To a certain extent.
If one believes the Goldman trope that no one knows anything, then maybe the internet has become a diving rod, except studios know how to use it now, and when not to. The Fantastic Four team made a point to not court the internet, and is looking to finish out around 160 domestic, with a solid profit coming from the DVD release. Which if the internet had anything to say about it, never would have happened. For me, with all the bad internet buzz, it actually helped the film as it seemed not that bad upon viewing. And for something like Catwoman... I mean the sudio didn't stand a chance. The public is fickle, sometimes it can smell a pile, and sometimes it can't. And that is where the Goldman thing is true, in that Heisenberg principle way. Had Land of the Dead had an early October release, would it have done $50 mil? Maybe. As my Russian teacher always said when we asked him to explain something inexplicable, "Moons, tides."
Ultimately the internet has helped studios hone their marketing, what demos to play, and we've seen in the last eight years that the marketeers have done a much better job at selling to their intended targets. Studios often give up on films (witness Land of the Dead, or The Bad News Bears), and they often fumble hard sells (The Island), which in some ways explains why the big budget titles have gotten decidedly stupider and easier to sell (brand name familiarity). Which sort of makes me want to root for a film like The Wedding Crashers, as at least it's halfway original.
And the internet journalists (which, in all cases of my observation are comprable in looks and hygene to journalist journalists) will probably always be portrayed as sexually repressed, socially awkward, and often fat. And they will always be needed. But they have been assimilated. Am I stating the obvious? Probably.