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'The Fifth Estate' rebranded with anti-Assange Title for Greek Release
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darkhorse Offline
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'The Fifth Estate' rebranded with anti-Assange Title for Greek Release
More Wikileaks film controversy: ΄The Fifth Estate΄ rebranded as ΄The Man Who Sold The World΄ on Greek release

The Press Project, 28 November, 2013.

   

Despite most Greeks viewing Julian Assange as a hero, distribution company opts for Greek title that portrays Wikileaks founder as a villain right from the opening credits.

The Fifth Estate, the film that purports to tell the true story behind Wikileaks, Julian Assange and the release of the Afghan and Iraq war logs is set to open in Greek theaters on Thursday. Perplexingly however, Odeon, the distribution company releasing the Disney produced film, has decided to give the already controversial film a controversial new title, rebranding it in Greek as: The Man Who Sold The World.

While Hollywood films are normally released in the country under Greek titles, these are normally close translations of the originals (although sometimes things do get lost in translation). And in Greek, just as in English, there exists the concept of the first, second, third and fourth estates. So it is unclear why the distributor did not simply stick with original title translated directly into Greek, as it would have made perfect sense.

Instead Odeon seems to be fuelling the flames of controversy around the film by casting Julian Assange as a villain on every movie poster, something even the film’s makers refrained from doing, even while their portrayal of Assange is far from flattering. Indeed many say that it amounts to defamation. Wikileaks has denounced the film as as “fiction masquerading as fact” with Julian Assange calling it a “massive propaganda” attack. In opting for the new Greek title, Odeon seems to be picking a side in the controversy, treating Assange not as a figure who divides opinion but as one who is an indisputable villain.

Some have speculated that there are less insidious forces at play: that after the controversy Odeon is choosing to market the film only to people who already have a negative view of Assange. Yet this also seems a strange choice in Greece where Assange is often viewed as a hero for standing up to and exposing American abuses of power in the highly unpopular Iraq war, and for confirming the high level of US interference in Greek internal politics that many had suspected for years via 'Cablegate' (Wikileaks's release of thousands of US State Department memos).

Or perhaps the truth is even more prosaic: that after highly disappointing box office receipts in the US and UK, the distributor is trying anything to drum up interest in the film which is on track to be one of 2013’s biggest flops, having returned a mere $6 million of its relatively cheap $28 million budget.

It has been said that there is no such thing as bad press, although Julian Assange might disagree.

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11-28-2013 04:04 PM
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