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Well, I guess that clinches it: film criticism, at least in print journalism, is dead.

So say no less than the head marketers of MGM/UA and Universal studios, as quoted in a recent New York Times article (by way of Jeffrey Wells's "Hollywood Elsewhere" website). And, as we all know, the purpose of film criticism is to sell the product of major studios.

According to the "Times," Mike Vollman, president of marketing for MGM and United Artists, "said that he will probably rely more on quotes from blogs than from ‘Time' magazine and ‘The Los Angeles Times' when he promotes ‘Fame,' a remake of the 1980 musical, and a comedy called ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.' ‘The reality, and I'm sorry to tell you this, is that younger moviegoers are more likely to be influenced by a blog than by a newspaper critic,' he said."

Well Mike, if you have trouble getting a good quote from the bloggers for "Hot Tub Time Machine," you might give David Manning a call.

Adds Michael Moses, executive vice president of national publicity for Universal, "some of the best film writing and most substantive reviews are found online. Those sources are as legitimate as any other."

The last I looked, by the way, Universal's "Land of the Lost" didn't have any blurbs at all (I was disappointed I didn't see  "A pot of ersatz dinosaur piss!" -- Peter Keough, "The Boston Phoenix," on any of the ads), either from print sources or bloggers. It apparently didn't do so great, barely eking out $19 million at the box office. One reason? According to "The Hollywood Reporter:" "It likely was hoping for a certain review-reading constituency... a 28% Rotten Tomatoes score... [doesn't] really do it."

Regardless, a lot of people went to see it.The bottom line for marketing people like Moses and Vollman is that if they pump in $50 million or so  in ads and promos and other propaganda it will steamroll noncomprehending dupes into theaters to watch crap. So it doesn't really matter what anyone else says, regardless of the medium. Maybe after they waste their $10 to be subjected to such punishment as "Land of the Lost," some of these dupes might think twice about ignoring the advice offered by professional movie critics.



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