Since Donald Trump started his presidential campaign fake news has become a serious issue, calling for an aggressive stand on websites that publish fictional material in the form of real information. While the internet is busy battling the latest threat to credibility, the marketing team of the upcoming psychological horror thriller film A Cure For Wellness is using it as a new outlet to promote their project.
The Sacramento Dispatch released a story regarding a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Swiss wellness center – the Volmer Institute – prior to the US elections in November 2016. However, the fact-checking website Snopes discovered that the story is nothing but a promo for the upcoming movie.
The story also features quotes from a "Volmer employee" who claimed he "couldn't, in good conscience, keep this information" to himself.
The website also features ads for the film, which appear on Houston Leader, the NY Morning Post and The Salt Lake City Guardian. Another fake story making the rounds is one about A Cure For Wellness leaving viewers in a "catatonic state".
The marketing gimmick has not gone down well with many, but 20th Century Fox and Regency – the studios behind the film – have defended their campaign. "A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a 'fake' cure that makes people sicker. As part of this campaign, a 'fake' wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news," they explained in a statement on 13 February.
"As our movie's antagonist says, 'There is a sickness inside us. And only when we know what ails us, can we hope to find the cure'."
Directed by Gore Verbinski the film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth, and is expected to hit theatres in the US on 17 February and in the UK on 24 February.