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Did Assange kill WikiLeaks 'The Fifth Estate' movie?

Published October 23, 2013 9:37 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

So, that Julian Assange movie is officially a flop. The Internet is abuzz with theories about why "The Fifth Estate" bombed at the box office, bringing in a minuscule $1.7 million on opening weekend. Maybe no one cares about WikiLeaks, or Benedict Cumberbatch-as-Assange can't carry a movie. The most-posed theory: The real-life Julian Assange's attempted takedown could have been the deciding factor. A look at how the WikiLeaks founder launched his own personal anti-"Fifth Estate" campaign this month:

Oct. 10 • Assange writes a long open letter to Cumberbatch: "I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film," and adds that the movie is riddled with errors.

Oct. 13 • According to the Hollywood Reporter, Assange tells the Hollywood Foreign Press Association the movie is "doomed to fail because its anti-WikiLeaks stance doesn't give moviegoers the kind of underdog story they want."

Oct. 20 • WikiLeaks releases its own version of events, posting a free download of the documentary "Mediastan" as competition, the Hollywood Reporter says.

No gloating reaction yet from Assange.