It’s Hollywood against the Internet.
After a miserable summer at the US box-office, Hollywood producers and others in the industry blamed movie-review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes for destroying would-be blockbusters with its oversimplified scoring system and even withheld critics screenings for some films. Now, filmmakers are targeting humorous-albeit-nitpicky YouTube channels like CinemaSins for the “dumbing down of cinema.”
CinemaSins is known for its “Everything that’s wrong with…” series on the logical flaws of different movies. It’s not exactly Mystery Science Theater, but the inane critiques have attracted 7 million YouTube followers.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of Kong: Skull Island, wasn’t happy with their treatment of his film. He went on a two-day-long, 70-plus-tweet rant that was nearly as obnoxious as CinemaSins’s 20-minute video breakdown of his film.
In his electronic missive, Vogt-Roberts pointed out everything that’s wrong with CinemaSins’s “critiques,” which he says fail at being criticism or satire.
Comparing stupid riffs on Hollywood movies to the president of the US’s alleged lies is a leap. But there were a few good points buried in Vogt-Roberts’s sprawling reproach.
It’s unclear why he chose to bring more attention to CinemaSins with his public tweetstorm. Even with 1.5 million views and counting, CinemaSins’s Kong: Skull Island takedown wouldn’t affect the film’s performance. It’s no longer in theaters, where it brought in a solid $567 million worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes actually called it “certified fresh.” Should it matter if a YouTube channel has a little fun with it?
Screenwriter Max Landis—whose equally long rants on social media have made him a target of scorn—was perplexed, too.
CinemaSins has made enemies of others in Hollywood before, like Lost and The Leftovers co-creator David Lindelof. And Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who was peeved when CinemaSins posted a takedown of Looper in 2013.
“There’s a little bit of sour grapes there,” said Andy Signore, co-host of Screen Junkie’s Honest Trailers, an Emmy-nominated YouTube series that parodies movie trailers. Vogt-Roberts called Honest Trailers true satire in his tweets.
“At the same time,” Signore added, “there are certain audiences members that take it too to heart and that’s just an online community that I think is more of a detriment to the film society than the makers.”
Quartz could not immediately reach CinemaSins for comment.