Lady Gaga fans are trolling Venom with poor reviews online in an effort to generate a larger audience for A Star is Born. Both films open in theaters this weekend and look to be headed towards very different destinies. The latter (which stars Gaga and Bradley Cooper) is widely considered to be one of this year's Oscar frontrunners, following a series of successful festival screenings in August and September. Unfortunately for the former, Venom is earning a largely mixed response thus far, with many critics saying it feels somewhat dated in the current comic book movie landscape. Still, it's projected to break October's all-time opening weekend record.
These two high-profile newcomers should give the box office a shot in the arm after a slow September that didn't have many breakout hits. Seeing that Venom and A Star is Born have contrasting target demographics, they should each be able to post fruitful debuts, but that isn't stopping one fan base from doing whatever they can in order to get an advantage over the competition.
BuzzFeed collected a plethora of tweets that appear to be from pro-Lady Gaga bots spreading negative opinions about Venom and telling people to see A Star is Born instead. One user named @LGMonster95 owned up to there being a "coordinated effort" amongst Gaga's fans to tear down Venom. It's taken a life of its own at this point, with people posting (obviously) fake A Star is Born reviews for comedic effect and others saying DC is behind it all - paying critics to write bad Venom reviews.
Unfortunately, this behavior isn't exactly uncommon for Lady Gaga's fan community (the BuzzFeed article runs through previous examples) and it's sadly become the norm in general online discourse. Just last night, research showed that roughly half of the backlash targeted at The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson was the product of political trolling, with Russian bots viewed as the perpetrators. For all the good social media can do, it's fueled an incredibly toxic and destructive landscape where trolls can run amok and ruin platforms for others. Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran left Instagram because of constant harassment and earlier this year, a group attempted to submarine Black Panther's audience approval rating to make DC fans look bad. Hopefully, things will eventually change, but it'll take some time for that to happen.
The truly bizarre aspect about the Star is Born situation is that the film doesn't need help in order to appeal to general audiences. Word-of-mouth is very positive, with it already Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and riding waves of awards buzz. Even if Venom was a critical darling, odds are A Star is Born would have been able to do quite well for itself during its opening weekend, since there's a considerable amount of interest in it. All Gaga's fans seem to have sone is anger the Venom fans, which doesn't benefit anybody.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
- A Star is Born (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018