Everyone knows that, over the past year, the ability of online outlets to influence the movie-going audience has increased by several orders of magnitude. Movie websites that pull in millions of unique viewers each month are now being given the kind of access once reserved for newsstand glossies, as they should be. But there's a rub -- wildly unprofessional behavior on the part of some online outlets, which is getting worse, not better. At a recent junket for a Sony film about a certain British secret agent, stars arriving in rooms reserved especially for online outlets were mobbed for autographs and targeted in the cross-hairs of cell-phone cameras. At other recent junkets, stars have reportedly been followed out of the room after they said their goodbyes by online writers hoping to score some unauthorized one-on-one time. After similar goings-on at the recent junket for the Angelina Jolie/Matt Damon drama The Good Shepherd, Universal Pictures has now hit back.
Universal's publicity department has fired off a missive to all the online outlets they deal with, stating that autograph and picture whoring is "reflecting poorly on the online press as a whole" and noting that they would "hate to have our online coverage limited even more," which suggests they've already limited it previously because of this behavior. So, on behalf of all people who follow the rules, will the autograph whores please grow up? Because if you don't, Cinematical is going to start printing your names.