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Let The Right One In subtitle farce grows

LetTheRightOneIn.jpgI didn't realise this but there has been a bit of a growing annoyance about the subtitles on the DVD and Blu-ray release in North American of the film Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) from Tomas Alfredson. It would appear that the subtitles on this version have been radically altered from the cinematic release, so much so that they are being called butchered by some.

Well now the studio have answered it by releasing the theatrical subtitles on the DVD and Blu-ray, so that's a good thing isn't it? Well if this internal communication from the company is true then, like many companies, they have no handle on marketing in the modern world, nor do they want to engage with it.

Here is the memo courtesy of Icons of Fright through /Film, extracted from an email response from one of the DVD distributors to their original story:

“Yes the bloggers are having a field day on this one. Normally they like to pick on the English Dub tracks, but in this case it’s the subtitles. Obviously online tend to get rowdy and bandwagon mentality without knowing all the details. The current subtitle track is not altering the context of the film at all, in fact it’s a more literal translation than any prior version of subtitles. It’s not a defective or faulty subtitle file. Just more literal and larger in size for the small screen. Both English and Spanish subtitle files were produced for this dvd release. Frankly it’s not all that uncommon to have the subs vary from prior releases, typically go unnoticed as subs are purely a translation of film dialogue. This wouldn’t have been a blip had it not been for one particular horror blog doing a side by side and claiming that they are wrong. They are not. We are not doing a recall or anything of that nature, again, these are not defective. Title came out two weeks ago and general public don’t notice and don’t care – bloggers are well known for jumping on something, making an issue of it and moving on. We have decided that based on the feedback that we will be making a running change, so that going forward (once inventories deplete), we will be making that subtitle version available. Options in set up will be; English Subtitles / English (theatrical) Subtitles / Spanish Subtitles”

It's interesting that Magnolia defends their subtitle changes as just taking a more literal approach to the translations, and yet those who have seen both films are claiming that entire lines have been changed to those with different meanings.

Okay, assuming that this memo is true and has genuinely leaked from Magnolia – remember it may not be but at least the story is still live after April 1st! - let me first point out that I think Magnolia haven't quite grasped what the word bloggers would encompass, and are using it in this context to talk about all online writers who have criticised their handling of the release of this film in North America, not everyone online who writes about anything from their daily lives to corportate “blogging” and online writing.

Magnolia are also missing the point that these bloggers they are talking about are part of their audience, well some of us are anyway as we still do pay for films and go to see them sometimes for pleasure, not just because we're forced to by press outlets.

Also these bloggers garner readers who are also part of their audience who will pay money to go and see their films.

Bloggers also have some influence over traditional media and are often quoted there, in fact Empire are quoted on the front of the DVD, and they are also bloggers, corporate bloggers, but they have the understanding of the new marketing concept.

Out with Filmstalker I work in a field that sees some companies trying to embrace the concepts and systems used in social media and blogging for marketing and business activities both inside the office and outside. Blogging is being exploited as a part of project management processes, of internal marketing of projects and individuals, and as a communication tool, and externally it is being seen as a strong marketing and communication tool.

However there are rules to making it work and to being accepted as part of the online community, of growing your market share organically, and the company must utilise and maintain their presence correctly. That means that they must engage and interact, treat each comment and article posted on every blog with respect and address it in a positive and open manner, they must be prepared to listen and respond, otherwise it just doesn't work.

With Magnolia, and again if this memo is the real thing, they have failed to do so. We see the typical attempt at utilising the whole blogging community for their own press and marketing and when something doesn't go right for the organisation hastily trying to hide the problem and treating them with disrespect and disdain.

What Magnolia should have done is listened to the comments and then addressed them on the very forums that were highlighting the issue. Imagine if they had fixed the subtitles and then posted comments on the blog, or even started their own social media account or site on the many outlets possible and started addressing the stories positively.

Instead this memo has been leaked and the online film writers are a bit annoyed, more so than just attacking the blogging community and the film fans behind it, but for altering so drastically the DVD and Blu-ray release of a really good film.

However that's Hollywood who are intent on remaking films like this (you'll know the remake for Let the Right One In is already underway), and that's large corporations who don't understand or engage their audience in the manner that they engage them.





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