June 29, 2006

Building on a Joke, Online [8:08 am]

A long-term running joke online, this movie’s producers have decided to build upon the online buzz for “Snakes on a Plane” by incorporating online suggestions into the story. Will this process mean blockbuster sales or the explosion of a peculiar experiment using the internet “echo chamber?” When Fans Hissed, He Listened - pdf

The film’s title says just about everything you need to know about the plot: On a transpacific flight, a Hawaiian mobster trying to eliminate a protected witness uncorks a carton of poisonous serpents. But as websites posted details during preproduction and as shooting got underway last summer, B-movie fans began to react. They wanted more creative snake attacks, more gore, more nudity and more of star Samuel L. Jackson’s signature four-syllable obscenity.

How much of the chorus was sincere and how much of it was a desire to propel an already quirky plot over the top is unclear.

Nevertheless, based in part on the comments, director David R. Ellis went back and reshot scenes to make the attacks more violent, the sex more explicit and the language more profane — including adding an expletive-laden line of dialogue for Jackson.

“I had the luxury to go back and tailor the film exactly like the fans demand and they expect,” said Ellis, whose experience with “Snakes on a Plane” reflects the increasing influence that Internet fan communities have over what’s playing on multiplex screens.

It’s as if thousands of people worldwide are sitting in on daily rushes, in which the crew and studio executives offer advice and commentary on movies during production. Although most common with films based on superheroes such as Superman and fantasy worlds such as in “The Lord of the Rings” — franchises with established rabid fan bases — the Internet’s reach is gradually turning the already collaborative process of moviemaking into a global endeavor.

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