The 501st (who are now denying any official stance or organized protest) says that at least 14 members showed up at a New York AMC, but when confronted by security guards, chose to buy a ticket to see 21 instead. They also claim that 20 stormtroopers showed up at Century City, but were asked to leave the mall by security guards. AMC denies both incidents occurred, and that the only protester in Century City was a lone Darth Vader.
A source close to the film says that it was eight protesters in Century City, and that they were taken out for pizza by a producer. That's certainly confirmed by a quote from producer Matthew Perniciaro: "We've been working on this movie for many years, and if someone is going to take time out of their personal life and support our film, whatever that support might be, at the very least what we can do is say thank you and buy them a couple of slices of pizza for caring abut this project as much as we do."
Anonymous fans insist that AMC theatres were prepared, and immediately quashed all dissent. "Guards were everywhere. "At one point, I counted nine, no joke. They hired a whole force, and whenever someone showed up looking around for the protest, they were surrounded by guards and told to leave instantly or be arrested. I guess you can't really hold a protest on private property." Once again, AMC denied any such showdown.
There's one thing that cannot be denied -- and that's the box-office numbers for Superhero Movie, which took in $9.5 million, well below the estimated $14-$19 million projected. Protesters are pointing to this as a sign that the boycott was victorious, and that even if few were picketing, many more still chose to spend their dollars elsewhere. On the other hand, it could be completely unrelated. Audiences may, at long last, be fed up with spoof movies.
It's difficult to say what happened -- Ten Days That Shook the World it was not, but it certainly cast more spotlight on a story that just keeps reaching new heights of insanity. My biggest question is when the Weinsteins failed Movie Publicity 101? Protesting stormtroopers, Darth Vaders eating pizza with Fanboys producers, a headline on Reuters -- how many people, happily living in ignorance, now know of a movie called Fanboys? And yet there is still no release date? Talk about being asleep at the wheel. Granted, I didn't take Movie Publicity 101, but it seems to me that something like "Fanboys comes out April 20th, 2008" would have been helpful tacked on the end of all the stories like this one.
If you are one of those happily ignorant people, and are reading this going "What's all this about?" you can start here, and work your way backward.