This weekend, Bill Condon‘s The Fifth Estate suffered the worst opening of 2013, bringing in an unfathomable $1.7m from 1769 theaters. Getaway opened better. Movie 43 opened better. Naturally, nobody is more pleased with this news than comic book supervillain Julian Assange, who has sent signals from his lair inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to consistently voice his disproval of the project.
Assange’s boycott against the film, which he condemned for portraying him in a biased and negative light, finally cumulated in the release of his own WikiLeaks film, a free documentary available on the website called Mediastan. In what is sure to definitely not be biased at all and portray him with a glowing halo, the documentary depicts “Operation Cablerun,” in which thousands upon thousands of American diplomatic cables were posted by WikiLeaks in collaboration with The Guardian and The New York Times.
“This weekend,” Assange said in a statement, “instead of wasting your time and money on Hollywood propaganda, why not get all your friends around and spend your time watching Mediastan instead?”
Okay, but even he has to realize that this is a teensy bit of WikiLeaks propaganda, right? Oh, right, this is Assange. This operation was also a major plot point in The Fifth Estate, but in all fairness, it really did portray him as not the best person in the world. The Mediastan version involves a crack team of punk journalists racing through countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to get into Afghanistan before secretly meeting at Assange’s place, then ambushing The Guardian and The NYT with truth and knowledge.
Whatever happened to make The Fifth Estate perform so terribly at its opening, it probably didn’t have anything to do with Mediastan’s simultaneous release. But isn’t that a fun conspiracy. There aren’t any stats for North American yet, but the doc was downloaded 500,000 times last week.
“[Mediastan] is journalism in extremis,” Assange said. “This is how it is done.” [THR]