Now that it's clear Fox wants to delay — or derail — the Watchmen movie, fans are talking boycott. There's only one problem: you can't boycott something unless you actually want to see it.

Fox has an almost unbroken record of putting out crap genre films over the past few years. Based on the studio's track record alone, you'd have to be a bit of a masochist to want to consume any more films like X-Files 2, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Eragon, Max Payne, The Happening, Space Chimps, Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Meet Dave, Jumper, or X-Men: The Last Stand. (To be fair, the studio also released City Of Ember, which I loved, and the Simpsons movie, in the last few years.)

These are not just movies you're better off renting. These movies are the reason there's a 4:20 in the morning as well as the afternoon — they probably look pretty good if you're both sleep-deprived and stoned.


Proving there is some justice, Fox has been suffering financially as a result. Says the Wall Street Journal:

Operating income at Fox Filmed Entertainment dropped 31% to $251 million for the fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, in part because this summer's results were weak in comparison with last summer's.

Fox's losing streak only ended with the release of Marley And Me, which looks to be a minor success.


And, by all accounts, Fox's output hasn't gotten wretched by accident. One hears stories about studio execs, hacking up movies to shorten them and dumb them down. Director Alex Proyas has publicly sworn never to work with Fox again, after his experience making I, Robot, and Matthieu Kassovitz has said similar things about Babylon A.D.

The main Fox movie people are talking about boycotting is Wolverine — and by coincidence, it's also the most recent movie to have reports of studio meddling. So far, the stories are pretty minor: director Gavin Hood left the filming for a short time, and when he'd returned, the studio had repainted one of the sets a brighter color, on the orders of studio chief Tom Rothman. More recently, Rothman said in an interview that he hadn't seen a final cut of the film, but he assured fans it's a dark storyline: "It's not Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm." Is Rothman going to keep his hands off the film's editing? We won't know for a while, if ever.

(To my mind, the biggest reason not to see Wolverine is that too many second- and third-string X-Men seem to have been shoehorned in, including Emma Frost, Gambit, the Blob, and a ton of others. It's supposed to be Wolverine's story, but it looks like it may be non-stop X-cameos. On the other hand, the trailers do make it seem like an entertaining slice of cheese, what with the "cut your head off" repartee and the truck/helicopter explosions. And Liev Schreiber does look great.)

What else is Fox releasing in the first half of next year? There's Dragonball: Evolution, which already has horrendous buzz based on the trailers and images that have come out so far. And then there's They Came From Upstairs, the cute-looking family-friendly movie about a group of teens (led by High School Musical's Ashley TIsdale) who stop an alien invasion. You probably won't suffer much hardship from skipping either of those, to be honest.

So if a boycott implies actually depriving yourself of something good in order to make a point, I'm really not seeing it here.

The hardship doesn't come until next December, when Fox releases James Cameron's long-awaited Avatar. And you'd have to be psychotic to skip that over something that happened a year earlier. Even if Avatar isn't among Cameron's best works, it could still be the best science fiction film of the year. And it's a film that has the potential to reinvent both film-making and science fiction. (Or it could be an underwhelming dud. But I really, really hope not.)


So I'd advise you to skip Fox's movie output for the next year, but don't deprive yourself of Avatar. And don't bother calling it a boycott — it's more a matter of exercising good taste. Oh, and let's not even talk about boycotting Fringe, Sarah Connor or Dollhouse. It's a different division of the Murdoch empire, and those shows actually deserve our support.