"F— That F—er": Hollywood Sounds Off, Ranks New York's Top Film Critics in Anonymous Survey

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
A.O. Scott

THR asked studio heads, marketing chiefs, directors, screenwriters and a slew of industry types for their collective ranking.

This story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As part of the New York issue, THR asked studio heads, marketing chiefs, directors, screenwriters and a slew of industry types for their collective ranking of the city's top critics.

1. A.O. Scott & Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"It's not the critics, it's the outlet. The Times stands alone," says a producer. Agrees a studio head: "[Dargis] can be a little snarky, but it's The New York Times. It matters a great deal."

2. Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"He gives the nicest reviews — he's such a cream puff," gushes an indie exec. "You can put him in all your ads — he gives quotes in advance." Says a studio publicity chief, "He's the one we all chase, along with Richard Corliss."

3. Richard Corliss, Time
"Corliss and Travers come out first, before the Times, so they are most important," says a publicist. But his influence is waning. Notes a screenwriter, "His reviews, like the publication he writes for, are tired."

4. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
"Hit-and-miss but always smart and articulate," says a tentpole director. But, says a screenwriter, "you get the sense he'd throw a movie he actually enjoyed under the bus for the sake of a string of cruel, witty barbs."

5. Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
"She counts for art house films," says a marketing chief. Agrees an indie exec, "The Voice is important because it's syndicated to alternative weekly newspapers around the country."

6. Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
"Passionate and uncynical," raves a director. Says an indie exec, "The best critic, but he doesn't matter the most." A studio chief, however, finds him "too highbrow."

7. David Edelstein, New York magazine
"Not the hysterical genius he was at the Voice but a fun read," says a screenwriter. Says the head of a small studio, "Nobody is sitting around waiting for his review to come out."

8. Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
"I'd put her low on the list," says a film exec. "I don't pay much attention to her." Adds a screenwriter, "I only read her when I do the full Rotten Tomatoes peruse."

9. Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"With Lou, it only becomes a big deal if his review is really nasty," says a publicist. "A normal review doesn't get any attention." A studio exec, though, gives him a thumbs-down. "F— that f—er," he says.

10. Rex Reed, The New York Observer
"If I wanted to hear a grumpy, mad rant, I'd listen to my crazy uncle," says a film exec. Adds a studio marketing chief, "Rex Reed has zero influence." And a studio PR chief, "He means nothing anymore."

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