The Los Angeles Times has an article this week about how the movie industry has become accustomed to the slow effects of word of mouth. But, the article says, that's a bad assumption in a world where kids communicate via text messages, sometimes from their theater seats.
"In the old days, there used to be a term, 'buying your gross,' " said Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, referring to the millions of dollars studios throw at a movie to ensure a big opening weekend.
"You could buy your gross for the weekend and overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to filter out into the general audience," he said. "Those days are over. Today, there is no fooling the public."
Sniff. So sad.
But before I chalk one up for the public, I have to admit that I think Mr. Sands is attempting to fool us by telling us that we can't be fooled. Now that we can send our barely-considered opinions at lightning speed, studios will attempt to optimize at this level, the level of the thumb twitch and the instant warm glow in the chest cavity. Will this produce better movies? Some movies require time and consideration. Some of my favorite movies probably wouldn't trigger favorable text messages from the theater.