When people say film critics don’t matter, perhaps what they ought to be saying is old guard film critics don’t matter. The internet matters, or at least that’s what it looks like based on the exit poll data the red head geek Harry Knowles over at AICN has dug up on 300.

Harry says that exit polls conducted by Warner Brothers on moviegoers who had just seen the movie 300 indicate that between 60 – 68% of them went to the movie because of the INTERNET. The reason that’s such a big deal, is that traditionally the number one reason people go to movies is of course, trailers they see on television. But suddenly that’s changing. 300 is the movie Snakes on a Plane was supposed to be, and no one even bothered to notice.

What’s really so delicious about it is that, as anybody with a movie-based web presence can tell you, most of the time internet sites have in the past been treated as second class citizens by the studio system. Most big Hollywood studios have been quick to bend over backwards for traditional media, but there’s been a lot of fear and hesitation directed towards the mid-level movie sites like ours. It’s as if they didn’t know what to do with us. But finally, here’s some proof that we have an impact. Not just movie sites though, but studio official websites, ads on Google, and the whole range of internet advertising web presence.

As a guy with his own little corner of the internet, I find this pretty exciting. And if you think I’m excited, well then Knowles is through the roof. He dug up the data, so he should get the credit. It’s not like AICN needs the traffic, but go check out what Harry Knowles had to say on the subject by reading his Internet conquers world article right here.

Now I wonder if this is the beginning of a real change in the way Hollywood views the internet. It’s already started in some ways. For instance, studio movie trailers are already shifting to use quotes from internet critics over print critics. If you pay attention, you’re as likely to see quotes from Aint-It-Cool or DarkHorizons tacked on to a movie advertisement as you are to see something from print critic A.O. Scott. Miramax has even been foolish enough to use a quote from Cinema Blend, on some of their upcoming advertisements for The Lookout. The winds of change are finally in the air folks, this could mean something… or absolutely nothing. Way to commit eh? Three cheers for the world wide web.

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