The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut lasted several years and successfully pushed Warner Bros. to greenlight Zack Snyder’s Justice League, four years after the original theatrical release. However, while some might view the movement’s success as an example of fan influence on major studios, a new report suggests it may have been the work, at least in part, of a viral marketing company.
According to Rolling Stone, the site that sparked the hashtag movement, Forsnydercut.com, temporarily had a digital marketing consultant, Xavier Lannes, listed as its registrant. He was described on the networking platform LinkedIn as the CEO of MyAdGency, a Los Angeles-based digital ad firm. The agency’s website is no longer functional, but once offered services including “cheap, instant Avatar traffic to your website,” adding, “We use the latest technology concentrated in the palm of your customer’s hands to grow your business beyond your wildest dreams!” When asked about the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement’s link to a viral ad agency, Snyder himself denied ever contacting Lannes.
In addition, self-proclaimed Snyder fan Fiona Zheng, who claimed to be Forsnydercut.com’s founder, tweeted about Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League constantly between 2016 and 2021, over the course of the movement. Since the film’s release on HBO Max, however, Zheng — who is supposedly based in China — has not been nearly as active, tweeting just twice to date.
The Root of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut
In recent weeks, a study commissioned by WarnerMedia reportedly found the majority of support seen by the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut social media movement was fueled by bots. Specifically, the company reported that at least 13 percent of the accounts participating in the campaign were fake. For comparison, experts suggest trending topics generally see engagement from bots and fake accounts in numbers ranging from three to five percent of total activity.
Snyder was forced to step down from Justice League due to a family tragedy, with filming close to completion. Director Joss Whedon was brought on board to replace him and the film underwent substantial reshoots and rewrites to alter the tone and events of the film. It was recently reported Snyder’s original version of the film was “unwatchable” and “joyless.”
No further details were provided, but they reflect criticisms of Snyder’s previous DCEU project, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was cited as being one of the reasons why Warner Bros. was unhappy with the director and why other DCEU films, including Suicide Squad, underwent major changes to its tone.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available now on digital and streaming through HBO Max.
Source: Rolling Stone
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