Now that fake reviews are affecting film and potentially film revenue, review trolls are suddenly a major problem and laws should probably be passed!
It had taken years — and the passionate support of Kirk Kerkorian, who financed the film’s $100 million budget without expecting to ever make a profit — for The Promise, a historical romance set against the backdrop of the Armenian genocide and starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, to reach the screen. Producers always knew it would be controversial: Descendants of the 1.5 million Armenians killed by the Ottoman Empire shortly after the onset of World War I have long pressed for the episode to be recognized as a genocide despite the Turkish government’s insistence the deaths were not a premeditated extermination.
The Promise, which opens April 21, finally would bring the untold saga to a mass audience. But at the Toronto Film Festival premiere in September, producer Mike Medavoy watched the late billionaire’s carefully laid plans upended by a digital swarm that appeared out of nowhere.
Before the critics in attendance even had the chance to exit Roy Thompson Hall, let alone write their reviews, The Promise’s IMDb page was flooded with tens of thousands of one-star ratings. “All I know is that we were in about a 900-seat house with a real ovation at the end, and then you see almost 100,000 people who claim the movie isn’t any good,” says Medavoy. Panicked calls were placed to IMDb, but there was nothing the site could do. “One thing that they can track is where the votes come from,” says Eric Esrailian, who also produced the film, and “the vast majority of people voting were not from Canada. So I know they weren’t in Toronto.”
The online campaign against The Promise appears to have originated on sites like Incisozluk, a Turkish version of 4chan, where there were calls for users to “downvote” the film’s ratings on IMDb and YouTube.
I look forward to hearing SJWs cry about how terrible it is that film producers are making efforts to ID those campaigning against their films. Because, as we are reliably informed, identifying fake reviewers is a crime against humanity.
However, it does underline the fact that if you want to support the authors, developers, and producers making stuff that you enjoy, it is very important to leave reviews, the more substantive, the better.