A Cure For Wellness may tell the story of a fake and dangerous health center, but the deception doesn’t just involve the film’s plot.
As part of the promotional campaign for the upcoming Gore Verbinski thriller, the filmmakers have partnered with a network of fake news sites to craft promotional stories tied to the film.
As revealed by a BuzzFeed story published Monday, these fake news sites have published false stories about everything from Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance to a made-up meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at a Swiss health spa. Some of the stories — like one with the headline “Psychological thriller screening leaves Salt Lake City man in catatonic state” — more directly reference A Cure for Wellness, while others are far more tangential. One story declares that the American Medical Association has classified “Trump Depression Disorder” as an actual disease, and it encourages readers to raise awareness for “TDD” by tweeting and using the hashtag #cureforwellness.
The campaign drew criticism on social media, especially as other forms of fake news continue to spread misinformation. (Not to mention the fact that President Donald Trump has denounced outlets like CNN as “fake news” and shared false stories himself on Twitter.) 20th Century Fox and Regency responded by releasing a statement about the campaign.
“A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,” the statement reads. “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. 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.”’
A Cure for Wellness opens Friday.