In the world of movie review aggregation there’s Rotten Tomatoes, there’s Metacritic, there’s our little old Criticwire Network, and there’s also Movie Review Intelligence, which was founded in 2009 by former studio executive David A. Gross. Unfortunately, a press release as well as an interview with The New York Times confirms that the site will close its virtual doors at the end of April.
Although Movie Review Intelligence reaches some 85,000 readers a month, Gross said in his statement that as an independent website, it doesn’t have “access to the content networks and mainstream moviegoers” it needs in order to continue its growth. But just because the site is closing doesn’t mean Gross stopped believing in the importance of movie reviews. Here, in his statement, he explains:
“Moviegoers take in lots of information about movies. Reviews are one element in an enormous mix. Reviews are an opinion. Anyone can have one — moviegoers take in many and form their own. Reviews are the first opinion. They set the tone and they stick with a movie through its distribution life. They are important.”
If you do a lot of Google searches with the phrase “movie review” in them (and boy, do I) you’ve almost certainly wound up at Movie Review Intelligence (and boy, have I), where film criticism is collected in slightly more complicated ways that simple good/bad, fresh/rotten distinctions. Gross’ site separates reviews by outlet type and by the degree to which they’re positive or negative, on a scale that ranges from outstanding to good to moderate to weak to poor. So, for example, if you’re curious about the reviews for the new Colin Farrell movie “Dead Man Down,” Movie Review Intelligence will give you an overall grade for the film — 47% out of 32 total reviews — but it will also give you targeted percentages. “Broad National Press” gave the film a slightly better 49.6%; “Alternative/Indie” Papers gave it a slightly worse 41.4%. If you generally find yourself agreeing with a certain type of critic, you could cater your searchers accordingly.
You could — but not for long. Instead, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your movie aggregation needs (coughCriticwireNetworkcough — sorry, I’m still getting over a really nasty SXSW flu). Even as his own site goes away, Gross insists that there still remains a need for better, smarter aggregation of movie reviews. Aggregation, you might say, done with intelligence:
“The current system of reviews is working at cross-purposes — with movies, with moviegoers and with critics. This is hurting the industry. We can do better with movie reviews. Hopefully at some point in the future we will.”