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Twitter Assault on the Studios — and Movie Critics

A new site called Flicktweets has just launched, produced by the Movie Review Query Engine. It collects real-time tweets about movies onto one page. At the moment, “Wolverine” is topping the tweets, with such tiny jewels of insight as @albertkiko’s: “I saw X-Men Origins Wolverine! I think it was a good film based on the […]

Last Updated: May 7, 2009 @ 3:19 PM

A new site called Flicktweets has just launched, produced by the Movie Review Query Engine. It collects real-time tweets about movies onto one page.

At the moment, “Wolverine” is topping the tweets, with such tiny jewels of insight as @albertkiko’s: “I saw X-Men Origins Wolverine! I think it was a good film based on the fictional Marvel comics!”

Whether the site catches on or not, one thing seems sure: It could be what helps studios and film critics, not usually the best of friends, find common cause. Both are under siege by the armies of critics at the movies these days packing iPhones and Blackberries.

Tweeting insta-opinions about movies is hard to resist for those addicted to constant connectivity. But it could be disastrous for the movie business, introducing an element of randomness and chaos into an already volatile landscape.

The idea of tweets from random strangers moving public opinion for or against a movie gives new meaning to William Goldman’s famous line about Hollywood, "Nobody knows anything."

It’s also one more cruel strike against the notion that professional film critics perform a valuable service that, sorry, Average Joe Movielover cannot reproduce — especially not in 140 characters.

When Universal Pictures Chairman Marc Shmuger spoke on a panel about the future of Hollywood at TheWrap’s launch party in January, he noted that the studios are in a bad spot when people text their opinions about movies to friends even before the movie is done. Months of marketing planning are out the window.

With Twitter going wide and getting more easily searchable, and with sites like Flicktweets piling on, the ante is being upped. People have a right to tweet about movies or anything else they want to. It’s not clear that the studios — or film critics — could even come up with a defensive strategy.