Talk:Zodiac (film)

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Featured article Zodiac (film) is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 5, 2012.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
May 1, 2007 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
October 25, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
January 7, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • Browning, Mark. "To Catch a Killer: Seven and Zodiac". David Fincher: Films That Scar. Praeger. ISBN 0313377723. 

Plot[edit]

The plot section of this wiki has been corrupted with sexual slang. please fix. -teh seth —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 149.125.207.203 (talk) 2007-03-30T04:25:03

The plot section reads like a bitch. Chunks of info are missing. Example: at one point is is stated that Paul Avery "again" receives a death threat, but the first occurence is not mentioned. I suppose someone was trying to fix things, but threw the baby out with the bathwater. Someone who knows how to properly do this, please make a fine-reading plot section. Snikch 00:59, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Location of filming[edit]

do you know where the zodiaz movie is taking place, where are they filming the movie ???

Jesus, san Francisco —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 71.198.67.117 (talk) 2006-01-08T08:02:51

Reviews[edit]

I changed the information regarding the U.K. Guardian critic David Thompson. It was previously David Thomson, which is a U.S. film critic, while David Thompson is a U.K. film critic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.117.133.32 (talk) 22:09, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Images[edit]

I removed the images because the formatting looked terrible with the film infobox. Please re-insert them if you can make it look decent. -wadems 05:21, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

In the film, does anyone know the year in which Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal)and Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) meet in a diner. The line "Did you see 'Dirty Harry'? ... Finish your book" is spoken. If the scene takes place before 1982 (I think it does), then there is a goof. A gum ball machine is selling Runts candy, which were not sold until 1982. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 24.5.60.50 (talk) 2007-03-04T22:56:58

Since the whole scene is pure fiction, I don't rate a goof with the candy in a gumball machine as very important.TL36 (talk) 03:11, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Fixing Footnotes[edit]

There's a lot of redundancy in the References. Check out Help:Footnotes to see how you can compress multiple cites under one reference. —Erik (talkcontribreview) - 00:55, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the tip. It's been fixed. --Count Ringworm 15:14, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Citation for use[edit]

Enjoy! Alientraveller 09:59, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Budget[edit]

This pages lists the budget at "more than $60 million" and later as "$70 million". I looked elsewhere on the internet at the figure $85 million (estimated) seems to appear a little more than these two earlier figures, but can anyone confirm the budget, or at least a better estimated figure? 58.169.165.32 13:15, 16 May 2007 (UTC)Lucy

New York Times says $75 million budget, but that it was filmed under budget. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 13:22, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

IMDB Top 250?[edit]

This movie made less than $4 million net, but is on the IMDB Top 250. I'm supposing that this is determined by user rating, and not box office sales? --MosheA 03:24, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

The Top 250 is based on user ratings and is completely unreliable. The Simpsons Movie was on the top 250, so was Transformers, so was 300. I'd suggest looking to Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic for a more reasonable critical balance. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 03:34, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Cross Referencing & Trivia[edit]

Pong is seen being played in the boat scene. I have included this reference in a wikipedia page on Pong, but am unsure whether to include in this page. Newbie, sorry! --Retrodouggy 00:57, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Trivia are generally unwanted. This is a feature article and the mention of Pong would only distract the audience. You did well by mentioning it in the Pong article, though. Snikch 00:51, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:
  • References 18 and 19 don't have a retrieval date and it doesn't say what they are, fix that ;) . Otherwise, good work!, i'm listing as GA. Yamanbaiia 20:09, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the review and the promotion. I have fixed those two References. --J.D. 00:19, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Lead[edit]

Is "a Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. joint production" really the very first thing that should be said about this film in the lead sentence? I don't think so. I would move that phrase back at least a sentence at minimum, i.e. "Zodiac is a 2007 American film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction books Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked. This Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. joint production stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr." --Melty girl (talk) 21:24, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

You are absolutely right. Thanks for catching this. I've changed it around per your suggestion. --J.D. (talk) 21:42, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Headlines[edit]

Here is a link to an interview that has potential info to be integrated into the article:

--J.D. (talk) 21:14, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

--J.D. (talk) 15:29, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

References

Contradiction[edit]

Although I'm not particularly familiar with the technical aspects of filmmaking, I believe this is a contradiction:

  • The introduction of this article claims that the film was shot entirely digitally: “During filming, Fincher employed the digital Thomson Viper Filmstream camera to shoot the film. This was the first time this camera was used to shoot an entire Hollywood feature film”
  • In the section titled “Principal Photography”, we learn that there were parts of the film NOT shot digitally: “Contrary to popular belief, Zodiac was not shot entirely digitally; traditional high-speed film cameras were used for slow-motion murder sequences.” The author of this statement cites the DVD itself.

So what is going on here? Can someone shed some light on this situation? Notecardforfree (talk) 03:43, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting this. I've fixed the Lead paragraph to reflect the accurate statement in the Principal photography section. --J.D. (talk) 20:21, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Why do the final words of the movie say that the suspect was NOT eliminated by a DNA test run on the envelopes and stamps, but the Wikipedia article about the Zodiac killer says that he WAS eliminated by the DNA test? I'm confused. 68.173.103.27 (talk) 03:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)LilMike

The film doesn't say "NOT eliminated" but instead states Arthur Leigh Allen is still the leading suspect which is a complete falsehood. In fact, the San Francisco Police Department initially dismissed Mr. Allen as a suspect way back in 1971 due to fingerprint comparisons and handwriting analysis. But there wouldn't have been a bestselling book or movie if they had started out with that fact. This film is a work of fiction inspired by actual events and not a documentary.TL36 (talk) 22:05, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Differences from reality[edit]

Why doesn't this article contain any information (as far as I can tell) about the way the film's plot differs from what really happened? For example, the article on the Zodiac Killer says "Donald and Bettye Harden of Salinas, California cracked the 408-symbol cryptogram" but in the movie, Graysmith does. I imagine there are other differences... it just seems like if this is a featured article it should explain how much or how little the film plot resembles reality. --Chiliad22 (talk) 00:12, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Um, no, he doesn't - the Harden couple are seen in the film and are discussed by Avery and Graysmith. Graysmith simply took their solution and worked on the "leftover" letters - coming up with a few anagrams. HammerFilmFan (talk) 01:36, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Because this film was fiction and a compare and contrast essay is way beyond the scope of an article about a film that is only based on the case and such often borders on original research. It wasn't a documentary. Wildhartlivie (talk) 01:14, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
It just seems like basic, encyclopedic context to explain that a lot of this stuff didn't happen this way in real life. To read the article now there's nothing to indicate that the movie isn't a documentary, it even says stuff like it's "based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book" and "Fincher realized that his job was to dispel the mythic stature the case had taken on over the years by clearly defining what was fact and what was fiction". On reading this article I honestly didn't know if the film was non-fiction or fictionalized - I had to do outside research. Are you telling me no reviews or articles ever pointed out this movie isn't a documentary, that some elements of the plot are fictional? That's the only way it would be original research... if the Wikipedia article was the first place to ever point it out, which I highly doubt is the case. --Chiliad22 (talk) 02:20, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Except that the film was never marketed as, or represented to be, a documentary, thus there would be no need for anyone to write that it wasn't a documentary. There was conversation portrayed, dialogue, scenes of someone doing something while alone, none of that can even be shown in a true documentary without some degree of fictionalization. It was a high budget, high profile film based on a book and I don't know of any circumstances under which such a film would be taken at face value as being absolutely faithful to "the truth" - whatever that is - without gaining some POV based on the book's author, the screenwriter, the director, the whole process. The question to ask would be how accurate or totally faithful to what is known was the book by Graysmith and is it considered the final answer to the case? The same argument could be made for any film based on a book of an event. There will always been a degree of literary license taken in any book, and by extension, film/tv film, etc., because of that. It's a filmed depiction of Robert Graysmith's book. It's way beyond the scope of an article about a film based on a book to examine how that version differed from... well, what official version would it be? It is a bit like All the President's Men in that regard. The book, and the resulting film, was based on the investigation of the Watergate event. It is going to be skewed to that perspective. Was it totally accurate or did the ultimate film include any literary license? Of course it did, it was a film based on the book by the reporters regarding their experience in it. Wildhartlivie (talk) 02:49, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I really doubt he claimed in his book that he solved the cypher when it's well documented that someone else did. I'm not talking about minor and unavoidable POV that even a good documentary will have, I'm talking about blatantly fictionalized content. This article currently says things like "Zodiac tells the story of the hunt for a notorious serial killer known as "Zodiac"", which to me seems to say it's non-fictional... it's telling the story of something that happened in real life. There are other passages I've mentioned that imply there was a great attention to factual accuracy... all I'm saying is it makes sense to point out the story isn't actually factually accurate but is fictionalized. it can be sourced. Also, the sky is blue (just adding this last part to see if people on Wikipedia will indeed object to absolutely anything) --Chiliad22 (talk) 03:03, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
In spite of the auto-objector which claims we simply cannot talk about the historical accuracy or context of a film, see 300_(film)#Historical_accuracy, Changeling_(film)#Historical_context, Dog_Day_Afternoon#Historical_event, Summer_of_'42#Factual_basis; all are featured articles on films based on real events, all contain entire sections on context/accuracy. As far as I can tell, every FA about a film based on a real event, except this article, contains information about how the film relates to the real event. Kneejerk objections are really frustrating. --Chiliad22 (talk) 03:46, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I left you a note on your talk page about the apparent tone of your last post. There is no style guideline mandating a fact vs. fiction section for any article, be it film, tv, book or whatever. You are free to doubt, but you don't seem to indicate if you know whether Graysmith claimed to solve the cypher, or anything else for certain from his book. There is a qualitative difference in what 300, Changeling and Dog Day Afternoon are and the sections that are in them - they all say clearly they are based on real events, they don't say they are based on another work, and you are stretching the content of the sections in those articles when you state that they address context and accuracy. They set the backdrop, talk about about the actual events that occurred upon which the films were then written. It isn't a compare/contrast situation for any of them and it is qualitatively different. Zodiac is based on a book written by a specific person (Graysmith) about his own involvement in the case. In the Summer of '42 article, the factual basis section is used to set the background for why the screenplay and novel were written, it isn't a section to clarify fact vs. fiction. You know, go ahead, write a section, add a statement, whatever. No one is telling you not to, but there is no requirement to do so and that there is no such section in the article does not reflect a deficiency in the article or the FA process. 04:36, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Wow, you say "they all say clearly they are based on real events, they don't say they are based on another work" yet the first sentence of 300 (film) says "300 is a 2007 film adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller". Dog Day Afternoon says "The film was inspired by P.F. Kluge's article... published in Life in 1972". Yet you insist they don't say they are based on another work. Clearly you aren't letting facts get in the way of your need to object object object.
As for the FA criteria, they say the article should be comprehensive, in that "it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context". I'd say the fact that the story is fictionalized is a major fact or detail! Then you say "go ahead, write a section, add a statement, whatever"... so now you don't object? --Chiliad22 (talk) 08:19, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) You've exhausted my good faith with your contentiousness. You're too new here to be this tenditious and I asked you quite nicely to be civil. Obviously that isn't going to be possible for you. You asked a question, I responded. There's a hell of a difference between discussion and blanket objection. What I object to is the tone of your "discussion" and apparent need to conduct arguments with sarcasm. It is time for it to stop now. I tried to discuss this but mostly, you've tried to insult. Obviously I missed the beginning of the 300 article, but you've obviously missed the behavior guidelines which include civility, assuming good faith. There's a difference between being inspired by an article and being based on a work. Learn the difference. Basically, your claim that "every FA about a film based on a real event, except this article, contains information about how the film relates to the real event" is not accurate, not in the way you represent it. I said that any depiction of a real event in a film is fictionalized in some way. Conversations, simulations of events, and the like are not actual recreations of events, they are fictionalized in some way. Perhaps it would behoove you to go read the Graysmith book before you attempt to debunk what in the film is different from "real events" as they were written by Graysmith. Otherwise, it certainly is not clear to me what it is you are saying is "true", what you are basing that on, or whether you're disputing Graysmith's book, the film, or comparing it to what you "know". Wildhartlivie (talk) 09:25, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Wrong again about Dog Day Afternoon... the authors of the article got writing credit from the WGA ("Screenplay by Frank Pierson. Based on a magazine article by P.F. Kluge and Thomas Moore"). So don't tell me to "learn the difference" when you haven't even checked the facts... again. You said my claim is not accurate yet you provide zero evidence. Even if Graysmith's book has all of these factual errors, which I think has about a 0% chance of being true, this article still needs to point out the movie is, for whatever reason, fictionalized. That's all I'm proposing, yet you seem to have determined yourself to oppose me no matter what, even if your main complaint seems at this point to be you've made embarassing mistakes and I've pointed them out. I'm going to be sarcastic when confronted with such absurdity, sorry. --Chiliad22 (talk) 13:28, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

"Except that the film was never marketed as, or represented to be, a documentary, thus there would be no need for anyone to write that it wasn't a documentary." From the Wikipedia article, "[Director] Fincher realized that his job was to dispel the mythic stature the case had taken on over the years by clearly defining what was fact and what was fiction." He also appeared on numerous programs to plug the film and always praised his movie's factual accuracy as if this was a primary reason for seeing it. There was also a special on "America's Most Wanted" where author Graysmith states the movie "goes beyond accuracy.[sic]" The movie itself opens with the statement that it was "taken from police files" but in the very first scene has a major erroneous item that certainly isn't in any police file. In short, Zodiac is so heavily fictionalized that it could be called a fantasy. There are scenes made up out of whole cloth and has the uninformed viewer convinced the Zodiac Killer was Arthur Leigh Allen even though ABC News has called him "exonerated" and the San Francisco Chronicle stated "Allen ultimately was ruled out by fingerprints, handwriting samples and DNA ..." A new section detailing the fact vs. fiction would run inappropriately wrong in my opinion; even though they are sourced, this article needs statements, like the one I quoted above, to be deleted. However, if I started deleting sourced statements like that on my own, I imagine it would lead to an editing war.TL36 (talk) 05:41, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Casting / cast list[edit]

There is a part about the casting process, however a final list of the full cast is missing. This should be added. Snikch 01:00, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

The official cast list for this movie is REALLY skimpy. I don't know if it's because it has a HUGE cast, or what...but even the actress Ione Sky (who has a recognized professional name, and a very visible supporting role as one of the Zodiac victims) isn't on it. So I don't know how an actual cast list would be assembled. What I'm saying is, the cast list that played in theaters/is on DVD etc. is extremely sketchy, and doesn't really reflect the film. So someone has many sleepless nights ahead of them in compiling an accurate one... Codenamemary (talk) 21:30, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I added this to the casting section, anyway: << The finished film has an unusually large cast of characters. In a May 15, 2007, film review, Variety noted, "Performances and casting are impeccable down to the smallest role." >> I don't know how to mark citations, but the Variety review is HERE: http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=awardcentral&jump=review&reviewid=VE1117932879&query=zodiac+review —Preceding unsigned comment added by Codenamemary (talkcontribs) 23:15, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Harris Savides[edit]

"Fincher had previously worked with director of photography Harris Savides on Seven (he shot the opening credits)."

I am baffled by the parenthetical: Se7en's iconic opening credits were created by Kyle Kooper, as is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_cooper — Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.182.96.208 (talk) 19:10, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Circumstantial Evidence statement needs to be rewritten[edit]

"The cartoonist acquires more information that points to Allen as the Zodiac, and 

although circumstantial evidence seems to indicate his guilt, the hard evidence, such as fingerprints and handwriting samples, exonerate him."

This sentence should be rewritten as fingerprints and handwriting samples are forms of circumstantial evidence.

Cast[edit]

In the "Cast" section, there should be some mention of why there are multiple actors playing the (singular) role of the Zodiac Killer. This needs some clarification. I suspect that IMDb is not a reliable source, but this is what is stated in IMDb (in its FAQ section):

"Why are multiple actors credited as playing "Zodiac"? The different actors were employed to match the varied physical descriptions of the Zodiac Killer by eyewitnesses and surviving victims. For example, the suspect seen at the scene of Paul Lee Stine's murder was described as quite heavy, and is here played by Bob Stephenson, while the man indicated to be Zodiac (although never positively correlated with the Zodiac killings by the police) and who threatened Kathleen Johns was described as rather slighter and smaller and is here played by John Lacy. For that reason, the Zodiac's first confirmed murder at Lake Herman Road (referenced several times in the movie as having occurred just prior to Christmas 1968) was not shown because there were no survivors or eyewitnesses that could give a description of the murder scene. Interestingly, John Carroll Lynch, who plays Arthur Leigh Allen, the man who's ultimately accused of the Zodiac killings by Robert Graysmith (a theory seemingly supported by the film), was not used in recreating any of the crimes of the Zodiac Killer."

It was odd, but notable, to see Barry Livingston (Ernie from "My Three Sons") in a non-speaking, background role in the Chronicle meeting room.

Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 22:45, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

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Box office gross vs budget[edit]

I removed a bit of leading text from the release section. It insinuates that once a film grosses more than its budget, it passes some meaningful benchmark of success. This is not true. See this article from The New York Times about film grosses. It explains how a film can gross more than its budget but still be a net loss for the studio. By phrasing it the way we were ("it grossed more than its budget"), we're leading people to a potentially wrong conclusion. See also Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film/Archive 66#How to report box office performance. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 18:47, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Notability of Zodiac (soundtrack)[edit]

I am concerned about the notability of Zodiac (soundtrack), currently a separate article. None of the songs are originally intended for the film; they existed very long before it. I intend to duplicate the soundtrack track listing, i.e. merge the soundtrack article, into the parent article but can leave out the track listing of the score per MOS:FILM#Soundtrack. BTW, what about additional songs used in the film but not included in the soundtrack album? George Ho (talk) 22:49, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

The soundtrack article doesn't establish notability, and also contains a lot of original research. I think merging whatever useful + sourced information exists in that article into the main Zodiac article would be a good idea. Popcornduff (talk) 10:27, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
I concur that merging is a good solution here. As for the additional songs, I would check to see if there are any reliable third-party sources that list them. Right now they do not seem noted elsewhere for Wikipedia to follow suit. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 21:14, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with the two above. While the Allmusic source is reliable, but it's still only one. And as Erik says, whether or not third party sources take note of somethig (like a song), is often the rule of thumb for determining whether this sort of thing warrants inclusion or not. Sergecross73 msg me 13:15, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Update: I merged the soundtrack article into this article... actually, just track listings and list of songs used in only the film. I'll discuss the FA status of this article soon. George Ho (talk) 09:03, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Current status as Featured Article[edit]

Now that Zodiac (soundtrack) is merged into this article, what to do about the current state of the "Soundtrack" section? I directly transfer all track listings, including the tracklist of the film score album (normally discouraged by WP:FILMSCORE, but I used my common sense to make an exception per WP:GUIDES). I figure that the "Soundtrack" may need some copyediting. Not only copyediting, the section also needs some more inline references to cite information. So does the "Accolades" section. I'm unsure whether the article has very few or too many details. Also, the article has been a Featured Status for (almost) ten years since its promotion in 2008. It needs either some re-evaluation or some cleanup right away. George Ho (talk) 09:12, 22 December 2017 (UTC)