Ain't It Cool News has always been a huge movie site, with it's founder Harry Knowles becoming a bit of a celebrity among the geek fanboy movie crowd (don't be offended, I'm IN that crowd). Like many movie websites out there (including this one) they report rumors based on information sent to them, but usually their sources are pretty solid.
However right now they're getting pretty hammered in regards to recent reports about Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
First they reported that Laurence Fishburne was providing the voice of Galactus in the film, but it turns out that he's going to be the voice of the Silver Surfer. The same story told of a test screening in Seattle where the feedback was that the movie was absolutely horrible.
Considering how much clout the site has, FOX put out some information today stating that not only was there not a screening in Seattle, but that there has not been a screening of the film anywhere. Also, although they didn't reveal what Galactus would look like, they reiterated that "fans definitely won't be disappointed."
I think that perhaps the fact that AICN has so much competition now may be causing them to loosen their standards when it comes to "sources." In the past even information they put out there as rumor has been pretty reliable, and even with these items they stated that. But to post information regarding a test screening that never happened? I can see that happening on a little podunk site like mine, but Harry has an infrastructure... on his contact page he has about 20 people listed, he has tons of industry contacts and I'm sure a wide network of "scoopers." I would think that there would have been some way to verify a test screening of a blockbuster film with the resources at his disposal.
The other question is what's going on here? Could this be some sort of misinformation campaign targeting the movie by some other studio that has a competing film coming out around the same time? It just seems odd that there would be both a terrible fake review of the film plus a description of Galactus guaranteed to make the fans really angry. Of course it remains to be seen if Galactus does turn out to be a giant cloud... but if not, this thing will reek of disinformation.
Source: Dark Horizons