Critics of American "cultural imperialism" like to allege that U.S. media crowd out local alternatives, not by dint of their superior quality, but by means of a media juggernaut that pushes audiences, zombie-like, into the theatres and malls.
That argument has probably always been mostly bollocks: As economist Tyler Cowen observes [pdf], the success of our culture industry overseas has always been highly variable. Movies—especially action flicks and slapstick comedies—fare well, sitcoms and soaps not so much. Now an article in the Christian Science Monitor suggests that early net buzz is reducing the ability of slick and expensive marketing campaigns to buy audiences. The piece notes that The Hulk had the steepest drop off from its first to second weekend in theatres of any number-one opening film on record. And while I was all psyched, as a fan of the graphic novel, to see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I may wait for video or cable in light of the broad consensus that the movie is a wretched abortion of an adaptation.