Under-appreciated. Underestimated. Ignored. These are common phrases that we in the online movie community have often used to describe our value in the eyes of most (but certainly not all) movie studios. Sordid is the relationship between the online community and Fox, who likes to pick and choose who gets to see their movies first. Hell, even the studios we love dearly, such as Paramount, have had run-ins with our brethren (See Paramount shutting down IESB earlier this year). But despite the rocky road upon which we travel when it comes to proving our worth and gaining access to top notch information that can be delivered to our faithful readers, when push comes to shove, the online community really does have the best interests of Hollywood in mind – no matter what they think of us.
The most recent incident, one that could have gone terribly wrong for the folks at Paramount Studios, involved a break in at the office of one Mr. Steven Spielberg. You may know him as the director of small, artsy films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jurassic Park and E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. Spielberg’s production office on the Paramount lot was robbed of multiple computers and over 2000 production stills from Spielberg’s current project, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom fo the Crystal Skull.
The thieves then began to contact online outlets, basically auctioning off the goods for the low, low price of $2000, which is wholesale if you really think about. Can you imagine the immense amount of information that could be pulled off of a few laptops from Spielberg’s office? It blows my mind.
One particular outlet that was contacted, TMZ.com was even on the verge of posting some of the information. But before they could move forward, the lawyers over at Paramount stepped in.
The FBI also began their investigation, which would ultimately be aided by a member of the online movie community. This member of the community cooperated with both the FBI and Paramount reps, and less than 24 hours later a sting operation, complete with a body double for our blogger hero, was underway. The thieves were apprehended today at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles, CA around 4:00pm PST.
To say the least, it was a victory for everyone. For Spielberg and the folks at Paramount, they get their stuff back and avoid a huge publicity nightmare. For the online community, we get to celebrate one of our own who chose to do the right thing and ended up a hero. We all love to report a spoiler here and there, or leak a video once in a while. Hell, we here at FSR have received our share of “Cease and Desist” notices from legal teams at various studios. But this was just going too far. One thing that studios often forget is that above all, we love movies. We are here to help them (the studios) get their great films to you (our beloved readers), we aren’t here to steal computers and damage careers. We’ll leave that to the tradition format media.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is still set for a May 22, 2008 release. And no, I don’t have any of the photos. So lay off, ya scavengers.