A Dog’s Purpose

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As most people have already seen, a TMZ video was leaked a couple of weeks ago regarding the Universal movie, A Dog’s Purpose. The movie, which follows a dog being reincarnated, underwent a lot of controversy when a video of a German Shepherd being forced into rushing water hit social media. PETA not only spoke out on the issue greatly, but there was even a boycott that started because of this. Universal and Amblin partnered for this movie. While Amblin claimed that the video was grossly edited and that it was at fault for a third-party production team, Universal cancelled the premiere. However, A Dog’s Purpose hit theaters this last weekend and did surprisingly well. While they said they were hoping to hit 25 million at the box office, they still hit 18.1 million, which was extremely surprising to many.

What I thought was so interesting about this whole story was the effect of a single video to a major production. Companies can be completely brought down by a single person today. The effect of blogs, twitter, and other social media has changed how companies must operate. There is a huge lack of privacy in everything today. While of course it is awesome when an animal is being mistreated and companies can be exposed for their ethical wrongdoings, it is also probably extremely difficult to operate while constantly under scrutiny. While Universal and Amblin were probably extremely relieved that they didn’t lose more money, one video lost them 7 million in one weekend, and probably caused a PR nightmare.

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5 thoughts on “A Dog’s Purpose

  1. Great blog post! I have been very interested by this whole controversy the last week and am glad to see that you wrote about it. At the beginning of last week I had decided to not go see the movie because I had only seen the video, but now after reading more articles I have decided to see it! I truly believe that this was a misunderstanding and that the producers and other people involved handled the situation well.

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  2. I think an argument could be made that the release of this video and the large amount of publicity generated by it may have helped it at the box office. If the video is not released, there is not a large media coverage and constant discussion about the movie. Good media or bad media… it’s still coverage. It reminds me of when North Korea hacked Sony because of the film, The Interview. When it was finally released online, it experienced the most downloads of any other film release in recent memory. I do think companies have to always be careful because everyone has a camera. And I am completely against the mistreatment of animals that may have occurred. But I wonder if the movie would have made as much money without the video.

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  3. Great blog post! I think at first I was completely outraged by the supposed animal cruelty of the video released, but the more I read about it, the less I believed the video, partially because I am convinced that a production group as long as this one was would allow such cruelty on set. Also, post-production editing can be very dangerous and easily distort the truth. I’m impressed that the movie was able to make as much as it did in it’s opening week because I haven’t heard of very much publicity since this scandal, so this viral video was the last thing in my mind about it. Interesting that one post can have such an affect on a company!

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  4. I wasn’t planning on seeing the movie (can’t handle that kind of emotional rollercoaster), but after seeing the video there is no way I’d go. Even if the video was edited and it was part of some grand publicity stunt, that’s still a bad move by Universal/Amblin. I always find it interesting when controversies like this pop up right before premiere dates..

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  5. Upon watching the TMZ video on Facebook, I immediately knew A Dog’s Purpose was going to take a massive hit. It really is mind-boggling how quickly social media and modern communication channels can make or break the success of any marketing campaign. These days, everything is on the internet. Everything. I agree with what you said regarding the difficulties of operating under constant scrutiny. While this ended up being a social justice in my eyes, I can imagine there are times that this scrutiny could cause more harm than good.

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