Love Should Die Conclusion
August 27, 2011
When the 'Love Should Die' Twitter account was originally set up, it was intended as a harmless joke among a small number of fans of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA who considered the sequel a preposterous concept at best.
Almost two years later, with a Facebook group globally recognized by the media, 'Love Should Die'---its creators and its followers and fans---has managed to transform completely the ignorant perception of the wider world and the media concerning the attitude of PHANTOM fans in relation to Lloyd Webber's ill-conceived sequel LOVE NEVER DIES.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has been billed since 1999 as the most successful entertainment venture of all time, its gross revenues having surpassed any other production in history, theatre, film, or otherwise. It is an ubiquitous cultural product that has broken national boundaries and that has become a classic musical. Like it or loathe it, it has long been acknowledged---even by its producers, Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Group---that a huge factor in its success is the loyalty of its audience, its fans who have supported the show since its beginnings and who continue to support it now.
When the press launch of LOVE NEVER DIES took place on 8 October 2009, the producer, Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group (this time producing without Cameron Mackintosh), used the above statistics to boast about PHANTOM's success and use it, quite understandably, as a marketing bedrock for promoting LOVE NEVER DIES. It was quite clearly targeting the fans who had made PHANTOM a huge enduring success as its potential audience. Hours later, videos appeared on YouTube with carefully vetted 'Phans' proclaiming their excitement about LOVE NEVER DIES. Press coverage supplemented this image with claims such as "fans of The Phantom of the Opera have been hoping for a sequel since 1999" (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH) and "fans happy with PHANTOM sequel" (ASSOCIATED PRESS).
Even before the press launch, it was well-established that longstanding fans of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA---those who understood its characters and story, in addition to those who were fans of Gaston Leroux's original novel from 1910---were extremely concerned about this ill-conceived sequel, not least because Lloyd Webber had originally tried to go through with the idea in the 1990s, using Frederick Forsyth's abysmal THE PHANTOM OF MANHATTAN as its basis. These fans did not agree that they could not wait for a sequel. Neither did they agree with the press comments that they had been hoping for a sequel since they fell in love with the original. These press comments were inaccurate, empty hype.
Once 'Love Should Die' took off---something entirely unplanned; indeed, its popularity took its creators by surprise---it was obvious that the fans attracted to it should unite to counter these ridiculous claims. As we have previously established in our mission statement, our aim was never to sabotage the show or to stir up unnecessary hatred. Our aim was and always has been to counter and ultimately correct the false image perpetuated by the media and the show's producers that this is something that passionate PHANTOM fans desire. Of course, this could be said of some fans, but certainly not those who have demonstrated a longtime interest in the story, the novel, the original musical, who have read Forsyth's abysmal novella and who have carefully considered the merits and drawbacks of a sequel.
Fast forward four months following the sequel announcement, and the press had changed its tune. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE STAGE, THE DAILY EXPRESS, THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, THE INDEPENDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, THE AUSTRALIAN, 20MINUTOS.ES, THE NEW YORK POST, EL MUNDO, THE NATIONAL, THE HEARLD SUN, PLAYBILL.COM, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, ABC NEWS, SUNDAY EXPRESS, THE FINANCIAL TIMES and REUTERS had now all acknowledged that those they term 'diehard Phans' are categorically against LOVE NEVER DIES. Majority of these articles, we would like to add, are newspapers that previously claimed said 'Phans' had an insatiable appetite for everything LOVE NEVER DIES-related. Here are just some of the articles recognizing the stance of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA devotees:
LSD In The News
You will note that many of the articles make explicit reference to 'Love Should Die' and/or its supporters. We have come a long way from the press mindlessly repeating the hype of the Really Useful Group that 'the Phans can't wait'.
What does this mean? Essentially, that we have successfully accomplished the mission we set ourselves. The global press, from the UK, Spain, Canada, Australia and the USA, have all now acknowledged that the sequel to PHANTOM is controversial and not one that passionate PHANTOM fans readily accept.
Our efforts, of course, have not been appreciated by everyone in the fan community. Do we apologize? No. We are saddened by any offense caused, but none of our actions have been deliberately malicious. We know that not everyone will want to burn a copy of THE PHANTOM OF MANHATTAN. That's why we suggested recycling it or passing it on. We know that some do not appreciate our growing presence on the Internet. Our advice: ignore our comments. We also know that some don't quite get our sense of humor. Too bad. But given that everything we have done has resulted in the press turning 180° in their coverage of the fans' reception of LOVE NEVER DIES (and has even led the Really Useful Group to completely disassociate itself with the opinion of 'Phans', with Lloyd Webber denouncing them as "insane" and "sad"), we regret nothing.
We do not stand for hatred. We do not stand for sabotage. We merely wish our views to be given a public voice and to be acknowledged. And in that, we have succeeded. We'd like to thank everyone for their support.
And that, dear friends, concludes our initiative at 'Love Should Die'. Do feel free to post any further reviews that emanate from the UK press for the sake of discussion. Our mission at 'Love Should Die' was very simple and consisted of two basic elements:
i) to provide a platform for PHANTOM fans to speak out against this illogical sequel;
ii) to alter completely the image perpetuated by the Really Useful Group and the world press that PHANTOM fans have been eagerly awaiting this sequel since the publication of Frederick Forsyth's THE PHANTOM OF MANHATTAN.
In both, we have succeeded. 'Love Should Die' will remain open and will welcome anyone who maintains this project should have never been given the green light. Feel free to use it to discuss the story of the PHANTOM and what it means to you.
Concerning the second point, our efforts have most certainly not been in vain. Having originally declared that PHANTOM fans could not wait for the sequel in October 2009, Lloyd Webber's The Really Useful Group can no longer use this completely false image to promote LOVE NEVER DIES. All over the world, papers have been reporting PHANTOM fans' discontent with the sequel
This is far more than we ever anticipated achieving. The team of LSD would like to thank all of the community's fans for their support. We may have earned the wrath of Lord Lloyd-Webber, who has publicly 'disowned' the very fans who have been lining his pockets, not to mention the frustration of all those whose inboxes have been flooded, but provided it is acknowledged that we were not in favour of this, we feel all is well. Once again, we respect everyone's right to like or dislike the sequel. If you wish to see LOVE NEVER DIES, we cannot stop you. If you are someone who is looking forward to LOVE NEVER DIES, then go ahead and see it and we hope you enjoy the show, but the show is not one we support. You can disagree with us. But you can't suppress us. There's room for more than one opinion in this world. 'Love Should Die' is not a hate campaign. It is not a sabotage, in spite of our tongue-in-cheek name. Its purpose is to remind the world that the sequel is not canon and never will be and that there are many who do not subscribe to the ridiculous book penned by Ben Elton, Frederick Forsyth and Andrew Lloyd Webber, which many of the London and Australian critics have highlighted as being the fundamental problem of LOVE NEVER DIES.
There is, however, one small correction we feel the press should acknowledge: fans' outrage is not caused by delusions of possessiveness. It is not possessive in the least to object to stories that have no legitimate basis, merely sensible. Protective may be a better word, but there are no delusions of 'ownership' in play here.
Our goal having been accomplished, therefore, it is time for LSD to take a backseat as the hype surrounding LOVE NEVER DIES begins to wane. Rest assured, we will be vigilant and return when the need arises.
In the meantime, we suggest all fans take a moment to appreciate Gaston Leroux's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and the musical of the same name penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe and directed by Harold Prince and remind themselves of just why the original PHANTOM inspires the passions that it does. Our small team---no, we're not just one person, contrary to popular myth---are still around to hear your opinions, particularly as we think everyone could do with a nice break from the negativity surrounding this overhyped show. It is important to remember that, for all the hype---both positive and negative---LOVE NEVER DIES is just that: only a show.