Does Anyone Care About Critics' Opinions Anymore?
by Alex Billington
May 8, 2007
Given the immense $151 million opening weekend box office success of Spider-Man 3, it's blatantly obvious that no one really cares what critics say anymore, whether good or bad. Take this point to start: everyone will always have their own opinion of a movie, no matter what. You might come to often agree with a certain critic, but you'll always hold your own opinions. And you can't forget the guilty pleasures we all have.
I was fueled to start considering the reasons why critics even exist anymore from an article on CHUD, and simply from the results of Spider-Man 3's opening weekend. It always seems like the biggest blockbusters and even some of those hidden gems (take The Fountain for example) are always bashed and torn apart by professional critics, but that doesn't ever have an impact or effect on the money it earns or its eventual cult status (since The Fountain didn't earn that much in theaters). Does a critics' opinion ever have an impact anymore, besides on the few independent or dramatic films that are going for Oscar buzz?
Even the word-of-mouth on Spider-Man 3 is a bit troublesome, but no low opinion, whether from your friend or whether from that critic in your newspaper, is going to thwart you from seeing Spider-Man 3, a movie you've been waiting 3 years to see! That's what happens with almost every movie these days. Although I'm no supporter of those terrible movies like Are We Done Yet? that somehow make money in theaters, the critics are much worse on those than anything, but that doesn't matter, people still go to see it, no matter what's said. I've realized, no critics' opinions, of past or present movies (in terms of sequels and trilogies) ever effect an opening weekend or box office. You hear all the buzz about critics hating the second in a series, yet the third comes out and the buzz is high enough that no one cares what they said, because the personal opinion of the general public is what rules here.
Who out there really takes what a critic says to heart? Is there anyone, and if there is please identify yourself, that will not go see a movie because of bad reviews, when they really want to see it or are persuaded by the other plentiful methods of marketing and promotion? Or an even better question, would ridding the world of the prominent placement of critics in this industry and the media have a beneficial or detrimental effect on Hollywood and the success of movies? To be honest, I don't think it would. I think we could exist without the stuck up critics everywhere that bash movies every Friday in your newspaper and still see great movies as well as the entertaining blockbusters (that would still make their money).
The requirement for critics in our society and reviews that mean nothing to anyone really only seems like a necessary thing that somehow fuels the industry. It's like speed limits, without them, we'd all crash and it would be mayhem, but with them, we hate them and wish they weren't there. But even so, critics and their opinions mean nothing and have no impact anymore. Only occasionally (and I mean rarely) do they ever have a poignant impact, but on a regular basis, and especially during the summer, we could do entirely without them and still flourish.