MockingHate: Negativity, Click Bait, and Media Strategy

District 13 isn’t the only one coming up with a plan when it comes to Mockingjay Part 1.

If you’re on the Internet on a regular basis, you’ve probably heard the term “click bait”. It’s when a headline or even an entire article is designed to be somewhat controversial in order to draw people in to either agree with or defend the topic at hand. It’s mainly useless pieces on popular subjects without much in terms of real depth, even if provided in essay form.

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Fishing For Hits!

And Mockingjay Part 1, dear friends, has been a serious victim of click bait.

The media has been saying just about anything they can to get our attention and let’s face it, most of it is negative. Why? The fandom is massive and enthusiastic and not afraid to run to the film’s defense, but there’s also plenty of “Academy Award winners only, please” types who will gladly agree with them on anything that demerits the franchise. Therefore, they get ALL THE CLICKS.

Though this happen with lots of series and has happened to The Hunger Games in the past, the horrendous articles meant to induce click bait have really hit new heights. So let’s go through these atrocious claims and set some things straight.

1) MOCKINGJAY PART 1 IS A FAILURE!
Mockingjay Part 1 is estimated to finish at $123 million for the weekend, making it the highest opening weekend of the otherwise lackluster year. It will almost definitely be the highest grossing movie of 2014, seeing as the current highest (Guardians of the Galaxy) reached $331 million over the course of its entire run. Mockingjay earned a third of the #1 movie’s entire run total in one damn weekend. Yes, $123 million is less than Catching Fire’s opening weekend and short of estimates, but as Variety points out excellently– it’s actually quite common for opening weekend and overall totals to fluctuate for a franchise and box office estimates are a hugely inaccurate system. Also, that’s only in the US. Mockingjay Part 1 is actually doing better than Catching Fire overseas. So this “Oh noes! The movie made less so the franchise is a sinking ship now!” approach the media is taking is ridiculousness to the nth power.

YEP.

YEP.

2) NO CRITIC LIKES IT, EITHER.
If you read enough negative reviews of MJ 1 (for which the reviews are still largely positive), you’ll realize that very few people seem to be reviewing the actual movie. They’re reviewing the fact that it’s Part 1 of a two-part finale, a trend that critics just don’t like. JJ already responded to that beautifully. Entertainment Weekly went so far as to claim that Mockingjay Part 1 may not actually be a movie, saying it didn’t have a concise beginning, middle, or end, leaving us to wonder if they watched the same movie we did. If so, what the hell were they smoking? That must be some good shit! Or maybe they’re just high off that movie critic ego. The movie is not all action, as we’ve mentioned before, but to say it essentially has no point or value other than to set up the end is a pathetic attempt at pretending you know best. We can name plenty of films that we about a thousand times slower or less meaningful than this one. Really, this just feels like media outlets jumping on the Hipster Express as the uber critical types begin to label the popular franchise as “overrated”, which they’d do no matter what the subject.

3) OH AND FANS AGREE WITH US!
These are our favorite. Articles in which fans’ negative social media statuses or random tweets are displayed as the end-all-be-all of the franchise and the guarantee that we’re all in on the lambasting too. So what constitutes a “fan”? Anyone who has seen the movie, apparently. I saw Dude, Where’s My Car? when I was like 12. Does that make me a fan? Also, there’s a widespread assumption that these fans expressing disappointment in certain parts of the film means they hated all of it all day every day. THR even wrote an obvious click bait article about common “fandom gripes” throughout the history of the films, portraying us all as racists who hated that Rue was black and sexists who hate Peeta for not being masculine enough. “Offensive to fans” doesn’t even begin to cover it, but they’re getting lots of views from stirring up old, nasty comments from a few outliers that in no way represent the fandom as a whole, as if we all feel this way.

Most definitely started out at a click bait media outlet.. except not really

Most definitely started out at a click bait media outlet.. except not really

4) NO WAIT– EVERYTHING IS AWESOME ALWAYS AND FOREVER!
This is the type of click bait we tend to be more agreeable to because it works in our favor, but we need to acknowledge this too. Because it happens. Like basically everything on BuzzFeed. We can’t say for sure that some of these sites are getting paid to advertise via positive articles, but we know that method absolutely exists. You’re more likely to want something when someone writes an article saying “This Is My Favorite!” than if you just saw a graphic on a sidebar. Again, we know so much nothing that Jon Snow would be proud, but we know it happens in advertising in general. But it could also just be these sites playing off how enthusiastic fans are, knowing they’ll click because the articles validate the things they love.

In between the cracks you can find articles that at least try to find a balance. But overall– and maybe it’s just us– but isn’t it just better to ignore the media and like what you like? We’ve all probably enjoyed some movies that the media had some gripes with or largely ignored or even HATED, but then you remember that you really don’t give a fuck what they think, because you liked it for your own personal reasons.

As for all that really obvious click bait?

Well… DON’T CLICK IT.
The Girl With The Pearl

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6 comments

    1. It’s true that click baiting is everywhere nowadays, but it also definitely targets popular entertainment (and politics too in the US, because Americans will happily rip each other’s heads off over that). Few things are as popular as Mockingjay right now, which indeed does make it a ripe subject for click bait targeting rather than the media trying to write click bait pieces on a lesser known subject. The use of the sensationalist form has risen in general, but the media also uses it much more heavily on popular entertainment and that’s very much on purpose.

  1. So they are complaining that Part 1 feels like… A part 1? This complaint is so ridiculous! *SPOILER* So it seems like FLaw went with part 1 being about what to do about Peeta and Katniss becoming MJ. Part 2 is obviously about getting revenge and invading Capitol. Am I crazy or doesn’t that seem like a whole package? Sheesh. Good thing part 2 is already filmed so they’ll have to release it. We believe in you, Francis Lawrence! Thank you, just thank you!

  2. The movie was awesome! Apparently blockbusters aren’t worth it unless they are blowing shit up every 5 minutes like Transformers >_>

    Although THR isn’t that off the mark tbh, since I have seen enough articles/posts about Peeta being the damsel-in-distress and not masculine enough to be worthy of Katniss to realise there is definitely an element of sexism involved.

  3. Your comments about click-bait negativity is exactly on target.

    I saw the movie on Friday and I was amazed at how good it was! I was also interested to see that more than half of the audience was over fifty (and this is Boston, though it was also a mid-day showing).

    This might be the most intelligent ‘blockbuster’ since Zero Dark Thirty–and that’s probably its problem. The film is rich with symbolism, detailed characterizations, thought-provoking questions and–but with only cryptic, ambiguous answers.

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