Mike Fleming

If indie distributor Hannover House’s CEO Eric Parkinson has his way, the Joel Schumacher-directed Twelve will not only stir box office when it opens Friday, it will also be popular on the IMDB.com website. And since entry to that popularity clique can be manipulated by hyperactive clicking, he’s asking everyone he knows to log on and click away.

Parkinson sent out this Facebook post asking for help: “Twelve opens at theaters next Friday, and this is my last shot at driving up the film’s ranking and score on the Internet Movie Database site. Just by CLICKING on the link below, you will help drive up the film’s popularity ranking. And if…you’re registered, you can even VOTE for the film (up to TEN stars!) You can only vote once, but you can click repeatedly. The reason this is important is that many media and broadcasters refer to the film’s ranking on IMDB to decide whether or not to do coverage!”

Who knew that being popular online was such hard work? Reached by e-mail, Parkinson freely admitted he was trying to rig the rankings, but said everybody does it. “Every studio and PR firm knows it and engages in stealth searching to elevate rank of films and stars,” Parkinson wrote me. “The only difference is that Hannover House is completely honest and upfront about it. If all the other studios are stuffing the ballot box (so-to-speak), anyone who doesn’t do the same will have what appears to be a `low’ popularity ranking. It’s very hard for an indie studio to compete against the major releases. They outspend us ten-fold and outmaneuver us at every turn. Internet outreach teams are engaged to do countless Google and key-word searches and relentlessly pound IMDB to elevate a film’s ranking. Hannover House doesn’t have that sort of money or resources, but we do recognize what’s happening, and are not afraid to shine light on this truth.”

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