Brian Miller

The crowded Labor Day weekend box office includes a mishmash of end-of-summer fare – some junk (Shark Night 3D), some attempts at awards bait (The Debt), even a long-delayed sex comedy (A Good Old Fashioned Orgy), but it also includes The Weinstein Company’s shoved around and mostly forgotten Apollo 18. The film’s marketing has hinged on making viewers believe that the film is “real” and crafted from “found footage,” but to pretty dubious results. I’m still not entirely convinced that Apollo 18 is an actual movie, much less one made up of real footage (and I say that as someone who knows people watching the movie as I type this). But despite all of TWC’s attempts to turn the film into an actually buzzed-about project, it looks like at least one faction of people involved with the production are hellbent on denying that the film is even remotely real – unfortunately, that faction is no less than NASA. Oops! NASA, however, is not just a bunch of cinematic killjoys. Last year alone, they collaborated on a vast number of space-themed entertainment, including almost 100 documentaries, 35 television shows, and 16 feature films. Apollo 18 was, at one point, just one of those collaborations, but now the space agency is chucking it out with the rest of the space trash, with Bert Ulrich, NASA’s liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations, telling the LA Times, “Apollo 18 is not a documentary…The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. […]

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We pretty much all saw the found footage trailer for Apollo 18 that crash landed last week. It taught us to fear space ghosts that knock over our flags and invade our space suits. Now we might have reason to fear for Bob Weinstein’s sanity. According to his quick quote to EW, he really, really, really wants audiences to think this movie is actual found footage from a real-life secret moon mission that ended tragically. The money quote: “People intrinsically know there are secrets being held from us. Look at WikiLeaks: There are secrets that are really true to the world. It’s not bogus. We didn’t shoot anything,” Weinstein claims. “We found it. Found baby!” The question here is whether this sort of tactic will backfire and hurt the film.

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