When logging on to an entertainment website recently, I was forced to watch a preview for the new Adam Sandler movie, That’s My Boy, wherein Mr. Sandler plays an ugly stereotype with a funny voice. You know the one. Anyway, during this dumb preview, they showed a bunch of blurbs from people saying how “great” and “funny” the movie is and every single one of these is from somebody on Twitter. Not film critics, not industry people, not even friends of the filmmakers, all the review were from Joe Twitter-User. Basically, the makers of the film told people who came to advanced screenings to tweet about what they thought of the movie and they chose the “best” ones and put them in the ad. It’s no different than them quoting focus group comment cards, but since they can’t put “Bob from the focus group” on posters, they’re quoting Tweeters instead. Why is Twitter suddenly the same as a news outlet? Furthermore, why do I care what jackasses who went to a free screening think?
“Jackasses,” you may well ask, “like film critics?” It’s true; most film critics get to go see free screenings of the movies they review. These are called “press screenings” and they’re not as prevalent as they used to be. Increasingly, films will not be screened for critics prior to the general release and if a critic wants to go see it, they have to put up their money like everybody else. Not screening a film for critics is usually a good tip-off to the critics (and cinemagoers if they’re paying attention) that the movie probably isn’t going to be very good. Not 100% of the time, but a lot of the time this is true. Critics have a good amount of clout, though not as much as in the past, and studios are trying to do whatever they can to get people to see their film in that all-important first weekend. With Twitter giving everybody a voice and an opinion, they’ve found a gold mine. But does everyone deserve to have their opinion count?
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