Marketers would describe “A Dog’s Purpose” as a film with “four-quadrant” appeal, meaning it’s likely to draw moviegoers of both genders, young and old. Based on a bestselling book and told from a dog’s perspective, it’s a feel-good story for animal lovers of all kinds.
Which is why a video leaked last week of a frightened dog apparently forced into rushing water during the making of the film is so damaging to its opening box-office prospects this weekend : It alienates, even offends, its very audience.
“Sometimes a controversy can help you, but this isn’t one of those cases,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of boxofficeguru.com. “As far as videos that can come out for your film, this is definitely not the one you want if you’re the filmmakers, right before the movie opens.”
Since the video surfaced Jan. 18 on TMZ.com and quickly went viral, fallout has been extensive, including: