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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

why does the IMDB hate critics?

Was it really necessary to frame the situation like this?

In the latest demonstration of how little influence film critics are able to exert on the box office these days, the Will Smith starrer Hancock collected an estimated $66 million over the three-day weekend despite an avalanche of negative reviews.

I don’t see how this is the fault of film critics. Does anyone have any numbers on what percentage of casual moviegoers even read critics? Perhaps moviegoers are at fault, for being so fucking stupid that they cannot be trusted to tie their shoelaces on their own.

Now, to be clear, I don’t actually think that casual moviegoers are too stupid to tie their own shoes (though I do wonder, sometimes). I didn’t hate Hancock, for all its many problems (my review is here), though of course I’m not a critic anyone counts when talking about “the critics.” And I do think that casual moviegoers — the kind likely to turn out over a holiday weekend for whatever new is on offer — tend to look for very different things in a movie than critics and serious cinephiles to.

But still: How is it the fault of critics if not enough people listen to us to make a difference? And is the IMDB suggesting that critics just stop what they’re doing? Does the IMDB even recognize that the purpose of film criticism is not the same as, say, a Consumer Reports report on window air-conditioners?

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