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Hurt Locker File-Sharing Subpoenas Begin 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-not-to-generate-good-press dept.
In May we discussed news that producers of the film The Hurt Locker filed a lawsuit against 5,000 John Does, known only by their IP addresses at the time, for sharing the movie over peer-to-peer sites. Now, reader suraj.sun notes that subpoenas for the lawsuit are finally going out. "Qwest Communications on Monday notified a customer in Denver that the Internet service provider has received a subpoena from lawyers representing Voltage Pictures, the production company that made The Hurt Locker. ... In legal documents, Voltage Pictures has blamed the movie's relatively poor domestic performance on illegal file sharing. As of March 21, the movie had grossed $16 million domestically, but took in $40 million overall. According to reports, the film's production budget was $15 million. The film leaked to the Web five months before the movie's US debut. ... For allegedly downloading The Hurt Locker, DGW told the Qwest customer from Denver that settling the case early would cost $2,900, according to documents reviewed by CNET."
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Hurt Locker File-Sharing Subpoenas Begin

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  • Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@ g d a r g a u d . net> on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:52AM (#33463962) Homepage

    The film leaked to the Web five months before the movie's US debut

    Looking for a culprit ? The guy who decided to sit on the movie for months while the marketing campaign was already on. When people want to see something and it is available, albeit illegally, they will.

  • Extortion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theskunkmonkey (839144) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:53AM (#33463970) Homepage

    When are they going to make extortion illegal?

    Oh wait...

  • Maths ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveime (1253762) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:54AM (#33463986)

    So they want 5000 filesharers to pay the ENTIRE production cost of the movie (5000 * 3000) = 15m, then the 40m is clear profit ?

    So, you payda money and maybya dont fall down da stairs ? Bunch of corrupt bastards. Sorry, bunch of government santioned bastards.

  • Marketing fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:57AM (#33464018)

    First I heard of this film was when it won it's Oscars, by which point it'd been out 6 - 9 months, and seeing as most cinemas drop films after a couple of months then there's no wonder it got poor showing.

    Perhaps if people actually knew the film existed, it'd have done better at the box office. Not advertising the existence of a film whatsoever then wondering why the hell no one went to watch it, despite it being popular post-Oscars is the real reason this film did so miserably financially.

    Blaming file sharers wont fix a marketing mistake, and by the time they've gone through the courts, dealt with the claims they're entirely unable to prove, it'll probably have cost them far more in man hours than they can expect to earn back through strong arming people with settlement threats.

  • Ugh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:58AM (#33464032) Homepage

    Look...I understand that piracy is wrong, and if something can be legally obtained it should be.

    That being said, this is freakin' insane. All 5,000 Does rolled up into one case? A case filed in Washington, DC...where almost none (if any) of the Does live? Fining these people so much money that the entire movie's budget is literally payed for by SUING people?

    If this isn't abusing the justice system, I don't know what is.

  • by pspahn (1175617) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:58AM (#33464036)

    Voltage Pictures has blamed the movie's relatively poor domestic performance on illegal file sharing.

    ...took in $40 million overall. According to reports, the film's production budget was $15 million.

    They made $25 million and are blaming file sharing because it performed poorly? I think that possibly their standards are a bit skewed because they have been gluttonous bastards for so long. In the REAL WORLD, if a product's return is more than twice what it cost them, I'd say they are doing pretty good.

  • Re:$25 million (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jarkov (1867240) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:00AM (#33464050)
    Yeah, this is like a warning to independent film-makers everywhere: WATCH OUT or else YOU TOO could have your movie leaked to the web and still only make more than double your production budget back in sales worldwide!
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:01AM (#33464058)
    Devil's Advocate here, but does that mean they shouldn't be sued for their infringement?

    I paid to see the film at the cinema. I feel ripped off twice over; I paid for something I could have received for free, and the film wasn't all that great anyway. I can't get a refund from the movie company or the cinema, but I can still be peeved at the folks who leaked it. IMHO, by the way, it's the leak who should be sued, not the consumers.
  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:05AM (#33464104)

    ...maybe the film didn't do all that well because not that many people were interested in it. I know I had absolutely no interest in watching it.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:07AM (#33464118)

    Saying filesharers caused the lacklustre sales makes no sense either, as other films are breaking records all the time- Avatar, Toy Story 3 etc. broke new records this year but also similarly suffer the piracy problem.

    As you say, there was more to this films poor sales than simply filesharing, see my other post in this thread for one possible reason, your point is also a good reason.

    Really this film had such a poor financial showing because of management mistakes, it's as simple as that. Sure piracy problem does take a chunk out of film profits, but nowhere near enough to cause too many problems else if it did the afformentioned films such as Avatar and Toy Story 3 would never have been able to break the box office records they did compared to previous all time record breakers like Titanic that came around before filesharing movie piracy was even a problem.

    Let's be honest, the executives responsible for the management fuckups behind this films lacklustre profits know full well they fucked up, these lawsuits are just about ass-covering so that these execs can fool some other gullable film maker into running the business end of their production in future. "Oh, yeah, the Hurt Locker, it wasn't abysmal marketing that led to it's poor showing, it was the file sharers. Honest.".

  • Avatar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:07AM (#33464122) Homepage

    The Avatar DVD is currently #51 in the Amazon sales charts despite being released in April. I bet it was way more pirated than The Hurt Locker will ever be.

    #6 in the Amazon sales charts is a movie made in the 1960s that has been available for piracy for many years.

    Occam's Razor: The movie isn't as good as they think it is.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdpars (1480913) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:08AM (#33464128)
    No, the culprit here is the guy on the production team who leaked it. That's who these people need to go after. This smells of lawyers trying to keep their clients from realizing how totally unnecessary they are. How much will 5000 trials cost the people paying for these lawyers, and how much will that cost the taxpayers? We ought to be in a riot that people are abusing our legal system like this.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:09AM (#33464140) Journal

    Regardless of whether or not someone leaked out a copy of the movie months before its release, the *real* problem seems to be that they're spending WAY too much to make a movie, and then complaining when their return on investment isn't what they hoped for!

    The average motion picture is roughly 2 hours long, right? (Often shorter, and sometimes a few minutes longer, but let's just say 2 hours for the sake of picking a number.) That appears to be about $125,000 per MINUTE they spent to make it, given a $15 million budget!

    I haven't even watched Hurt Locker yet, but as I understand it, it's a contemporary movie about the war we're STILL fighting right now! It's definitely not a film that required a lot of painstaking effort to accurately re-create events of the distant past. All the costuming, props, etc. should have been readily available. So WHY can't this type of story be told for FAR less money?

    Personally, if I was producing a movie in Hollywood today, I'd pass on any of the "big name" actors and actresses that demand huge salaries, and concentrate instead on having a really good script. Then I'd find some talented but under-appreciated/utilized actors/actresses and see what I could do with them instead. In the last 5 years or so, I've seen much more "in depth" and interesting stories coming out of foreign films with exponentially lower production budgets than the garbage we keep cranking out here in the USA. It's time for Hollywood to rethink how they do business ... not to blame file-sharers for their problems and try to continue the status-quo!

  • by plumby (179557) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:10AM (#33464146)

    Avatar was 10 times better? Hurt Locker must have been truly awful then.

  • Re:Maths ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:12AM (#33464160) Homepage

    This will be the new Hollywood business model.

    a) Make movie
    b) Hype it
    c) Release it on P2P
    d) Wait six moths, release in theaters
    e) When it bombs, sue 10,000 John Does because you know they can't afford to defend themselves.
    f) Profit!

    Anybody see a flaw?

  • by Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp@@@yahoo...com> on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:12AM (#33464162) Homepage

    Maybe the movie didn't succeed because it sucked.

    Actually, illegal file sharing had a huge part in the movie not making any money. People could see just how bad it sucked for free before shelling out the cash to see it suck in a theater.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cHiphead (17854) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:13AM (#33464168)

    I'm not military and even I saw the movie as complete bullshit. And I wanted to like it. Just too many little bs things added up to ruin it for me. Hey I'm a bomb tech and I'm gonna walk up and cowboy the shit out of every bomb I come across, not to save some children, but to just act like a badass. Quick, let's go outside our operating zone and SPLIT UP!

    That and the fact that the Nesquik cereal he is looking at near the end of the movie is not distributed in the US anymore. That was the most significant portion of the movie for me.

  • by cHiphead (17854) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:16AM (#33464204)

    No, it fucking wasn't. And I watch a LOT of movies. A LOT. Especially crappy movies. And it was definitely in the nonsense bullshit category. Black Hawk Down was a good military movie. The Hurt Locker was ruined by DUMB fucking plot line twists. And I mean REALLY REALLY FUCKING DUMB.

    Men Who Stare At Goats was more accurate portrayal of military life than Hurt Locker.

  • Worst Part (Score:3, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:18AM (#33464224)
    The worst part, in my opinion, is that this isn't even a good movie to pirate. I mean, it was okay to watch on Netflix, but there's no excuse for pirating such a mediocre film. Yea, it won an Oscar, but it was basically just a re-packaged Jarhead.

    If this had been over Inception or another really great film, I could understand better. This? Please.
  • Re:Extortion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:20AM (#33464268)

    When it stops being so profitable.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:20AM (#33464276)
    Mine doesn't. I show my lack of support by not using any product requiring HDCP.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:21AM (#33464288)

    The Hurt Locker was an amazingly good movie.
    Intense, interesting.

    I found the characters to be contrived caricatures. The film almost seemed like a parody of itself, filled with the kind of overly stylized, cliched, and rather shallow scenes South Park would show to make fun of an overblown director.

    **/****

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:28AM (#33464386)

    You're kidding, right? It just an even more boring version of Jarheads. There was fuck all innovative or memorable about it - apart from how lame it was.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:29AM (#33464400)
    Well, to be fair, they may have a point. As soon as people started watching it, I'm sure that word of mouth started to circulate about the quality of the film. Personally, I haven't seen it, but I take it that it wasn't a very good movie. And in this day and age, a bad movie might only get one day before it's outed on the web for being a bad film. Which makes it very hard to make money if it sucks as people know better pretty quickly, unlike in the past where they might get a couple weeks.
  • Re:Avatar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:30AM (#33464406)
    I _highly_ doubt they don't realize the truth. Suing everyone and basically having your own "war on piracy" probably provides far better revenue and/or chances to grab power than just sitting there collecting sales revenue. People aren't stopping buying their movies (well, I have, but I'm sure I'm in a minority) but they sure as hell stand to make _thousands_ of dollars off each person they can pin down on a piracy charge. "Oh we see you were probably never going to buy our movie, well, you owe us $2k+ now, thanks for "purchasing" our non-DRM version of [movie]!"
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amouth (879122) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:31AM (#33464410)

    Sued for the act of infringeing - yea sure

    Suing for lost, imagined profits? Eh no...

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:34AM (#33464452)

    ...from a movie that only opened in "art houses"? At least where I live (largish metropolitan area), the movie opened in *two* indie theaters. I don't exactly know how this works, whether the movie producers steer their movie towards indie or mainstream theaters, or if the theaters can pick and choose the movies they show. At any rate, it's no big surprise that a movie that opened in a city of 2 million+ in only two movie theaters would have been short-lived, over-hyped (as these types of movies often are), and revenue-deficient.

  • Re:Maths ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:40AM (#33464528)

    Its a very viable plan, the only thing you lose is some public respect.

    But as the past has shown, the 'general public' is a bunch of morons who don't mind if you put rootkits in their cds or bankrupt college students for a few songs.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:40AM (#33464532)

    The film owners still have a legal right to sue for infringement, and there's some pretty good arguments for a moral right, BUT ...

    The industry is claiming they need very high statutory damages to make up for the tremendous losses they say 'piracy' produces.
    If those losses are really so high in part because of cases where the industry itself screws up, then the industry doesn't really deserve especially high statutory damages, AND giving those to the industry may encourage their incompetence rather than them reformulating their business models to make 'piracy' less attractive. Metaphorically, the punishment for auto theft should not be made so attractive to the victim that he or she deliberately doesn't lock his or her car in a known bad neighborhood. Running up demand when you are not prepared to meet it, and delaying consumer gratification while the product is hot, are simply bad business models.

    The industry is also claiming they have a special need for taxpayers to foot more of the costs of them filing these lawsuits. If that same industry isn't bothering to do simple things they reasonably can to make those lawsuits unnecessary, then they themselves are the ones manufacturing that special need. That's one reason I qualified the part about moral rights, above - The industry has been claiming that the 'pirates' are solely responsible for creating that special need. If the industry itself is denying its own share of the responsibility, that undercuts their moral position. Going back to the metaphor I used, having your car stolen gives you no moral right to deliberately lie to the judge (and through him, the taxpayers paying the costs of a criminal prosecution) about whether you locked the doors or not.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_fat_kid (1094399) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:47AM (#33464618)

    devil this.
    Who ever leaked this only caused "harm" to the box office take by letting people know just how bad this movie sucked.
    That would seem to be the studio's problem with it. They wanted to FOOL people into thinking it was a good movie. Word of mouth sunk the movie first. Try again.
    Save your peeve for the people who palmed off this turd on you.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Manfred Maccx (1365933) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:48AM (#33464634)
    Mod this guy UP...too bad I don't have anymore point today :(
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:48AM (#33464644) Homepage

    Plus, if it were any good (and it weren't) then those sharers would have become evangelists for seeing it at the theatre.

    FFS, studios actually give free screeners to generate buzz. 3000+ people saw Scott Pilgrim for nothing, said great things about it, and then it totally crashed and burned at the box office anyway before it even had a chance to leak online. So, what, it failed to make money because the screener audience stole all the potential gross, with their filthy thieving eyes?

    Go after filesharers, fine with me, the law's on the books. But trying to blame the failure of your theatrical release on them? Grow up and admit that the FAGs [wikipedia.org] giving out smug awards to each other in Hollywood aren't an indicator of what Joe Popcorn wants to watch, any more than us nerds are.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:50AM (#33464662)
    wah wahhh
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:50AM (#33464664) Journal

    Yep. The most likely reason the movie didn't do that well was because most people didn't want to watch it. Or they were told not to bother from those who watched it.

    I wonder if those 5000 John Does are actually the total number of those who pirated the movie - which would be a rather embarrassingly small figure :). From what I hear, I wouldn't bother wasting my bandwidth downloading Hurt Locker, and I doubt I'd bother popping down the local pirate shop to get a copy.

    If filmmakers wanted to make more money they should make movies that millions of people will want to watch, and make it easy for them to pay and watch it.

    FWIW, I paid to watch Avatar in the cinema. And it was worth my money, nice graphics and all that. Even my mom paid to watch it with one of her friends and they both liked it too. Surprise surprise, my mom doesn't always like the same movies I like. My dad didn't want to watch it - he said it was too long. IIRC he watched LoTR, and I think that did well by most sane estimates.

    But despite that, somehow LOTR allegedly didn't make enough money for some crooks to pay Peter Jackson his fair share, and apparently Return of the Jedi never made money ( http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6024677.ece [timesonline.co.uk]). "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" lost money too: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100708/02510310122.shtml [techdirt.com]

    So guess who I think are the real thieves and crooks in the movie and music industry? It's not those file sharers.

    Makes you wonder how they stay in business. Perhaps the Government should shut them down and put them out of their misery.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:53AM (#33464696) Homepage Journal

    If they can show that they caused damages even close to $2,900? Perhaps then.

    I don't see how the damages can be more than the price of a movie ticket per person.

  • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:57AM (#33464744)

    Look...I understand that piracy is wrong, and if something can be legally obtained it should be.

    Basing a moral argument on what the law says is probably not the best strategy, especially considering that the relevant law in this case constantly changes (usually to subvert the interests of commoners and to favor the interests of corporations).

  • Regret (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday September 03, 2010 @11:02AM (#33464816)
    I bought the movie when it came out on DVD because I'd wanted to see it in theatres but missed it and heard it was worth the money.

    I really enjoyed the movie and was happy to see it earn some Oscar recognition.

    Now that they are backing this sort of action against people, I regret giving them any of my money. I will no longer recommend this movie. I regret supporting this movie if they are so willing to participate in a legal action that I find offensive. The copyright laws, as they exist, were designed to combat _commercial_ piracy and that's a battle I support. Suing individuals for the same monetary damages that are designed to discourage commercial infringement is abusive.

    Fuck them.
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Friday September 03, 2010 @11:02AM (#33464820) Homepage

    >Well, to be fair, they may have a point. As soon as people started watching it, I'm sure that word of mouth started to circulate about the quality of the film.

    Isn't that better for the consumer, they didn't get ripped off by the film company trying to use advertising to make their product look better then it actually was.

  • Re:Maths ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Miseph (979059) on Friday September 03, 2010 @11:11AM (#33464898) Journal

    More importantly, you can just keep making up new company names forever with little or no repercussion. Who the hell are voltage Pictures? I've never heard of them before, and I suspect I'll never hear of them again. The next project funded by the same people could be released by Amperage Pictures instead, and nobody would be the wiser.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andymadigan (792996) <amadigan@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday September 03, 2010 @11:32AM (#33465174)
    The definition of copyright infringement as theft is completely contrived. If I steal your car, take it for a joy ride and return it, have I caused you harm? Yes, you lost the use of your car for some period of time, in addition to gas in the tank and wear and tear on the car. If I go to the library and borrow a book written by you, have I stolen? No, because the law says I haven't. Intellectual property is something created solely through law, it has no basis in nature. This by necessity means that it might be defined too broadly or too narrowly. You can make the argument that these people broke the law and ought to be punished. You cannot validly make the argument that they caused a measurable loss to the IP "owner" since the owner lacked natural right to the IP in the first place.

    Note that I am not advocating the abolition of all IP law. I am simply stating the fact that the law does not define morality.

    By the way, your claim that "making your own currency is stealing" is obviously false. Passing off the currency is fraud, not theft. Same goes for stock. However, sending someone a copy of a movie without making any claim that it is legally licensed for such distribution is not fraud. Making your own U.S. currency would certainly be illegal, but the definition of the crime and the reasoning behind it is nowhere near theft.
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foobsr (693224) on Friday September 03, 2010 @11:43AM (#33465326) Homepage Journal
    ... Maybe I'm strange among /.ers, since I don't feel any compelling need to buy the latest shiny toys, but I've given the whole "HD" thing a miss for now.

    Same with me.

    ... I really should set up a MythTV or something ...

    So do I, but anticipating the crap that is produced I feel not very compelled.

    CC.
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:30PM (#33465946)

    Can you point me to a television that doesn't support HDCP?

    TVs that work with HDCP aren't a problem; you don't need to go shopping for non-HDCP-compatible TV. The problem is in devices that refuse to output to something which doesn't support HDCP, since you might not always want that to be a TV (e.g. you want to timeshift).

    My problem is that I don't have a choice in selecting my cable box.

    Of course you have a choice. Cancel your cable service and throw away the cable box. Abstain or pirate (same thing, from a market perspective) until they either offer decent cable boxes or until they use standards for the cable transmission (so that you can use any tuner and don't need a cable box).

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:44PM (#33466148)
    With torrents, the act of downloading is simultaneous with uploading, and unavoidable. It's the same act. The company is double dipping if they try to hold you accountable for both downloading and uploading, because they're also suing the guy who downloaded from you.
  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by orgelspieler (865795) <w0lfie&mac,com> on Friday September 03, 2010 @01:21PM (#33466620) Journal

    You know what you should do if you don't like copyright? You should create content and give it away for free and if you're right and copyright is a blight on society and only holds back the advancement of the arts and science, then you'll become very successful in your model. Then you might have a case for advocating for the elimination or major reform of existing copyright law. But as long as the people bitching about copyright are 99.99% non-creators, all anybody hears is "gimme gimme gimme... i want free shit..."

    We're all "content creators" now. You just created content. I just "consumed" it for free. So your argument that 99.99% of the complainers are non-contributors is not quite viable. By making a complaint on a blog or the like, they are actually creating content.

    I'll go one further: I am an engineer who happens to compose music on the side. I give my music away for free to anybody who wants to perform it. I don't make a dime off of it, yet I still make about one piece a year. I also have quite a few pictures on flickr that are CC-BY-SA. These photos have been used on several blogs, including some big professional ones. I have no beef with that. I've even had people offer to pay me a nominal fee for the use even though they don't have to. You'll find several e-book authors who give away their stuff, too. Granted it's mostly crap (no doubt my music and photos are as well), but so is most of the stuff we pay for.

  • Re:Culprit ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unr3a1 (1264666) on Friday September 03, 2010 @01:32PM (#33466750)

    I 100% agree with you, but unfortunately Component is going away come Dec 31st. http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/02/19/1936209/2010-mdash-the-Year-AACS-and-HDMI-Kill-Off-HD-Component-Video [slashdot.org]

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday September 03, 2010 @02:04PM (#33467210)

    They were going for a "gritty, realistic," movie but couldn't be bothered to do the actual work to make it so. Well that might wow critics, it would seem the movie was loved by the critical press, but it is going to fall flat for people who are actually in to that sort of thing. You can have an action packed, special effects thriller type that has little to no connection with reality and it'll do fine. People go to watch those for the spectacle, not for reality. However if you make a movie that is slowly paced and is supposed to connect with people because it feels so real... well then you'd better get the fucking details right. You'd better spend the time to make sure it does indeed feel real, and not half ass it.

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