"Fake news" is a loaded term. It started as a way to describe false stories from non-credible sources, created in places like Macedonia. Since then, the alt-right, as well as our own president, have used the term to describe credible media outlets such as CNN and The New York Times.
So, what does that have to do with a horror movie? 20th Century Fox just apologized for creating fake news sites to promote A Cure For Wellness, which was released today.
The studio created fake news stories about President Trump, Lady Gaga, and other real-life people who have nothing to do with the film. One of the fake news stories, for instance, claimed that President Trump met with Vladimir Putin at a Swiss wellness center.
"A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a 'fake' cure that makes people sicker," Regency Enterprises, one of the film's producers, told BuzzFeed earlier this week. "As part of this campaign, a 'fake' wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news."
In a time when our president gives press conferences about how much he distrusts the media, a partnership with "a fake news creator" doesn't sound like the best idea. And 20th Century Fox is owning up to it.
"In raising awareness for our films, we do our best to push the boundaries of traditional marketing in order to creatively express our message to consumers. In this case, we got it wrong. The digital campaign was inappropriate on every level, especially given the trust we work to build every day with our consumers," a 20th Century Fox spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. "We have reviewed our internal approval process and made appropriate changes to ensure that every part of a campaign is elevated to and vetted by management in order to avoid this type of mistake in the future. We sincerely apologize."
The controversy definitely created publicity for the movie — but it's probably not the attention they hoped to attract.