At the Barbie press preview in London, the audience was issued with two competing embargos. “Share your positive feelings about the film on social media after the screening,” a publicist told the room… but actual reviews couldn’t appear until two days before the film’s general release. For most, only the first deadline mattered anyway. Studios are increasingly turning to influencers over “proper” film critics to rate and recommend films.“The point of an influencer is you want to be their friend,” says Loren Lott, who has 338,000 followers on Instagram. “They’re at Barbie. Dang, I wish I was there. Now I’m gonna go and see Barbie.” Simple as that. So, who’s more powerful? Critics are quoted on posters, but influencers have TikTok. Maybe the critics are right to be worried, if what happened in fashion is anything to go by. Back in 2009, Marc Jacobs seated Filipino influencer Bryanboy on the front row of his show, much to the chagrin of many established editors. By September of last year, Bryanboy was named editor-in-chief of noteworthy style bible Perfect Magazine. That’s not the house journal of Barbieland, to be clear.
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