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August 14th, 2003

Schadenfreude is a German word that doesn't have an English equivalent. It means the joy derived from the misfortunes of others. The entertainment industry is full of example of Schadenfreude at work, and I don't mean Moe poking Larry in the eyes.

The Matrix Reloaded is a perfect example. Here is a movie that made $90 million in its opening weekend, nearly $300 million domestically and over $700 million worldwide. This movie is a success by any definition of the word. But what gets the most press? The big second week drop-off and how it lost to Finding Nemo for the summer crown.

But Schadenfreude was taken to a new level with the release of Gigli. Predictions for failure were written with almost overwhelming glee. And when it had record second weekend drop-off of 82% you could feel the smugness when entertainment journalists wrote about it. (Did you know its per theatre average was only $306? That put it in 100th place out of 103 films.) And now a Boston Radio station is creating a promotion around the spectacular failure. WBCN has bought out that last showing of Gigli in the city and will be giving away all 130 tickets to lucky listeners who can win a, 'I Survived Gigli' T-shirt just by staying till the end of the movie.

I don't think we’ve seen such Schadenfreude attached to a movie since Battlefield Earth.

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Source: Yahoo

Filed under: The Matrix Reloaded, Gigli