Fan Petitions: Does Hollywood Really Care What Fans Think?

When fan petitions arise, it begs the question: does Hollywood read these petitions? Do they care what fans think? And is there another way to get Hollywood’s attention besides creating a petition?

Batman v Superman is the breakout hit film of March 2016. Forbes reports that during the first weekend of release, the film brought in an impressive $170 million in ticket sales domestically. Despite being profitable, it is obvious via Rotten Tomatoes that fans and critics remain split on whether or not the film is good. Many of the complaints seem to stem from the film’s direction, with many blaming director Zack Snyder for the film’s cinematic failures. Due to these failures, fans have organized a petition to oust the director from the franchise, with the hope that Hollywood will listen.

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In 2013, Zack Snyder directed the Superman reboot film Man of Steel. After the film was released, Synder made the announcement at Comic-Con 2013 that he would be directing the newest film in the WB/DC superhero series called, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Fast forward to 2016 and a fan petition to remove Snyder as director appeared out of nowhere. Currently, the petition is currently sitting at 14,677 signatures.

A fan petition against a Hollywood decision is not a new thing. A recent and major petition was created surrounded the casting of actor Ben Affleck. When Affleck was announced as the new replacement for Christian Bale as Batman in Batman v Superman, fans went into meltdown mode. Fans made sure to let Hollywood know they didn’t appreciate this casting, and that anger manifested in the form of a petition.

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The idea that Ben Affleck was bad for the part stems from his role in the film Daredevil. A bad taste was left in the mouths of critics and fans due to how bad the Daredevil film is. In fact, the film is considered one of the worst superhero films of all time, according to EW. Fans felt so strongly about wanting to get rid of Ben Affleck that the petition gained nearly 100,000 signatures. However, all of that effort is wasted. Not only was Affleck not removed, but he is considered one of the best parts of the Batman v Superman film by critics and fans alike.

In January 2015, Dreamworks studios announced they were adapting beloved Japanese anime series Ghost in the Shell into a live-action film. Variety reported that actress Scarlett Johannson was cast in the title role of Japanese character Motoko Kusanagi.

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Fans cried foul, as it appeared once again a role meant for a minority actress is being whitewashed. This is when a petition was created, and fans immediately called for a recast.

“Ultimately, Ghost in the Shell is a story about what makes us human. Having access to powerful media representation is key for minorities to be seen as human. As a successful white actress, Scarlett Johansson has been privileged to play powerful women characters in action films. ‘Ghost in the Shell’ was a chance for an actress of Asian descent to have that same opportunity.”

Before the date of closing, the petition had received 65,607 signatures, but Scarlett Johansson remains on board with the project. New Zealand website reports that Johansson begins filming Ghost in the Shell in Wellington this week. and other petition sites like it are useful tools for bringing light to issues involving activism or issues pertaining to human rights. While fan petitions make light of fan gripes and diversity issues within Hollywood, they don’t seem to be making a difference. It’s clear from the lack of compliance from Hollywood, they will continue to do whatever they want, whether or not it makes sense. Fans want to be heard, but is a good way to about it?

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]