If you've heard Stephen King's name any time over the past year, it's been in connection with one of two things: the releases of several movies based on his books, or his relentless criticism of Donald Trump on Twitter. Trump's core supporters, apparently, have noticed both. But when Trump supporters tried to arrange a Stephen King boycott and stop people from going to see the new movie It, based on King's 1986 novel, their plan didn't go so well for them. In fact, it really couldn't have gone any worse.
It all started with a Reddit post containing the following plea:
Okay, Everyone. Please DO NOT go see Stephen King's new "IT" movie this weekend when it opens. If you have to see it, wait till after opening weekend so he has a lousy showing this week. Trump stands up for us, so we should stand up for him!
First, let's note that for a boycott, it's really not asking much. The Reddit user, whose profile has since been deleted, allowed for the possibility that other Trump supporters might "have to see it," and only asked them not to see it on opening weekend. Apparently, though, even this was too much to ask. Not only did It do well at the box office this weekend — it earned the third biggest opening weekend in 2017 and offered a long awaited boost to a movie industry that suffered over the summer, all while Hurricane Irma prevented most of Florida from heading out to the movies.
King hasn't endeared himself to Trump and his supporters with the constant stream of funny criticism that the horror writer posts on Twitter. The president himself caught on and blocked King, which seems to be his favorite way of dealing with Twitter criticism. King, who didn't seem all that perturbed by the development, still struck back by officially blocking Trump from seeing It and watching the TV show Mr. Mercedes, another project based on his books. Although it's unclear how official such a statement can be, since it would seem difficult to enforce — unlikely though it is that Trump would go running out to give any money to King anyway, but still.
While the big numbers that It posted would suggest that the boycott spectacularly failed, it could also be that not a single Trump supporter went to see the movie and it still had that killer opening weekend. After all, Trump's latest poll numbers aren't looking very good. If you assume that only people who strongly approve of the president would consider skipping an exciting movie on his behalf, then the boycott would top out at 27 percent of people. Trump's base is shrinking — and that base's potential to bankrupt Stephen King is shrinking with them.
Getting blocked by Trump doesn't seem to have hurt Stephen King much, and his hilarious Trump commentary has definitely gained him a few more followers. That's not the only reason to follow him, however — you'll also get horror movie and TV recommendations; adorable posts of his corgi Molly, who he refers to as "the Thing of Evil"; and side swipes at the president.
This isn't the only boycott going on in the Trump era, but it most be the most unsuccessful one. The ongoing #GrabYourWallet campaign has forced several sellers to drop their Trump merchandise, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant promised not to visit the White House if invited, and several major charities have decided against holding events at Trump property Mar-A-Lago.
Sure, anyone who really loves Trump will probably refrain from going to see a movie based on a story from one of the president's more prominent critics — and either way, that critic certainly isn't worse off for it.