Disney attacked for promoting The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas with blog quotes
Advertisements in Britain for The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas quoted seven phrases taken from reviews on the film fans' website IMDb.com (the Internet Movie Database).
The praise included "Simply stunning" from a blogger called Theedge-4, and "Please please see this film", written by Mjavfc1.
But the practice, used in newspaper and online marketing of the picture, has been condemned by professional critics.
Jason Solomons, chairman of the film section of The Critics' Circle, said: "These online postings are unreliable. We don't know who the writers are. Anybody can make up an internet name – it could be the producer himself or one of the actors.
"It's a very dangerous area because the anonymity gives them complete freedom to express themselves without being accountable for what they have written. It's actually cowardly and I don't think it's helpful to use them."
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, a joint UK/US production, is set in a wartime concentration camp and tells the story of the young son of a wartime Nazi officer who befriends a Jewish boy.
Although many critics applauded the film, none of their reviews were quoted in the newspaper advertisement.
The situation contrasts with Mama Mia, which was released to critical derision earlier this year but flourished after reviews by the public.
Mr Solomons, who writes for a number of national newspapers and was among those who praised The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, said: "This is a very important film and it's a shame to see it cheapened in this way, especially when it had decent reviews."
He said that some of his colleagues believed the use of blogging reviews threatened their future.
"There is a fear that it could spell the end of the critic. I'm hoping that it will highlight the inconsistencies of the internet and reinforce the point of us. People will realise they can't be guided by 'Pete63' because they don't know who it is."
Mr Solomons stressed the importance of the relationship between the critic and the public and said: "When a film-goer reads a critic whose views chime with theirs, they know that if the critic likes a film then they go along and enjoy it. That wouldn't happen with a blogger they don't know."
Another reviewer, who did not wish to be named, said he suspected Disney quoted the bloggers because it feared the film would receive a critical mauling.
"I don't wish to be snobbish about them but you can find bloggers who can rave about anything," he said.
A spokesman for IMDb said they had given their permission for the quotes to be used.
The film is being released and marketed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, UK.
Lee Jury, its executive marketing director, said that its newspaper marketing used quotes from professional film critics in the early stages before switching to bloggers to avoid repetition.
“Having used many of the critics’ quotes on all pre-release ads and also for a further two weeks in-season, we felt that it would provide a welcome change for readers if we were to freshen up the campaign and, crucially, demonstrate that the film now has the support of the public and the critics,” he said.
“The key point to make is that the bloggers’ reviews were always to be used in addition to – and never 'instead of” – those of the film critics.”
Mr Jury added: “The recognised film critics are, and will continue to be, one of the mainstays of the industry from both a marketing and publicity point of view.”