Entertainment behind the scenes
Should movie critics be on endangered species list?
The New York Times has re-visited the issue of the demise of the “old media” film critic, after a number of U.S. dailies and weeklies laid off staff amid falling advertising revenues, fears of a full-blown recession and competition from free Web sites and blog pages.
Critics have long been defending their corner, many embracing (at least publicly) the rise of the film blogger and stressing the difference between reviewing (personal opinion, reactionary) and criticising (analysis, broad knowledge base) a movie.
But many traditional reviewers must surely be feeling the heat, as are many other members of print and non-print media struggling to come to terms with the digital revolution and availability of free news over the Internet.
Movie makers will have mixed feelings about the prospect of film critics becoming extinct — though reviewers argue that their profession is in ruder health than we are led to believe.
On the one hand, there is often a disconnect between what critics say and what the public decides to do. When “The Da Vinci Code” was panned by reviewers and booed at its press screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, studio bosses wondered how the negative reaction would affect ticket sales for the most anticipated movie of the year. In the end they need not have lost too much sleep — it went on to earn $758 million worldwide, making it the second most successful film of the year.
But there are films for which critical acclaim and debate are important. Today’s New York Times article cites Scott Rudin, a producer of Oscar hits “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood”. “For those of us who are making work that requires a kind of intellectual conversation, we rely on that talk to do the work of getting people interested,” he said.