The importance of good press to a film's distribution chances cannot be understated. While I try not to dwell too much on distribution issues on this blog, sometimes a matter of distribution cannot be ignored. This is just the latest in a string of articles about the decline of traditional film criticism and what it means for indies and for cinema in general.
An increasing number of films aren't getting reviewed in key U.S. outlets, damaging their slim chances at the boxoffice. If the trend continues, it could even make it more difficult for smaller indie films to secure a release.
Reviews from established media outlets are the only reason many low-budget films make it to theaters today, because they trigger word-of-mouth and DVD-ready quotes vital to the indies' true profit source: home video.
...perhaps Darwinian principles will win out, and the indie world will have to learn how to live without some of the print attention it's relied on in the past. "The only complaints we've gotten [on not running some reviews] are from publicists and distributors," says the Post's Lumenick. "Not a single one from readers."
See also the Hartford Courant piece The Decline Of The Critic, in which Matt Eagan examines the rapid fade of the local newspaper critic.