April 17, 2017

"The Promise's IMDb page was flooded with tens of thousands of one-star ratings."

hollywood reporter: "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 [Mike] Medavoy. by Mia Galuppo and Natalie Jarvey

'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. A rough translation of one post: "Guys, Hollywood is filming a big movie about the so-called Armenian genocide and the trailer has already been watched 700k times. We need to do something urgently." Soon afterward, the user gleefully noted The Promise's average IMDb rating had reached a dismaying 1.8 stars. "They know that the IMDb rating will stay with the film forever," says Esrailian. "It's a kind of censorship, really."

'While the attack against The Promise is an extreme case, colored by decades of fraught discussion over the Armenian genocide, it highlights a growing problem in Hollywood. A search of 4chan reveals multiple campaigns against everything from Star Wars spinoff Rogue One to indie Holocaust-denier drama Denial to Justin Simien’s upcoming Netflix series Dear White People, many with step-by-step instructions on how to negatively impact films on sites like IMDb and YouTube. Once just a curiosity — for years, Korean fans made an annual ritual of vaulting K-Pop idol Rain to the top of the Time 100 Poll — online trolls now are a movie marketer's worst nightmare.'

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