The most terrifying words in the Hollywood lexicon, apart from “slow opening weekend”, are “spoiler alert”. This is a bloody sport of amateur one-upmanship in the era of the camera-phone, the hyperactive blogger and those nuts who tried to hack into the Transformers set computers no fewer than 7,000 times last year. Less effort is made easing world hunger.
Fudgy snaps can ruin a film’s reputation months before it opens. The threat of plot-spoilers kept Steven Spielberg awake while polishing his crystal skulls, irritated JK Rowling as American papers gave away Deathly Hallows details, and provoked the geeks of Lost to film three different actors embalmed in a coffin for the final Big Reveal of the current season.
The heaviest hand has been laid on would-be paparazzi in New Orleans, where Brad Pitt has just finished shooting The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which he is born old but grows more golden every day. Others might just call that living with Angelina Jolie. Dozens of the city’s police were deployed to enforce antique antiloitering laws against anyone spotted with a lens - including tourists. Murders, meanwhile, went on at their usual pace.