The rise of the internet has certainly reshaped movie fandom. Blogs have replaced fanzines and torrents and YouTube have banished the bootleg video tape to the realm of memory. And now the internet claims its next victim – the Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide.
The Physician’s Desk Reference for movie fans, the Maltin Movie Guide was first published in 1969 and has contained thousands upon thousands of capsule reviews of films that could be seen on television or at revival houses. The last edition of the book, which will be hitting bookstore shelves next week, clocks in at 1,611 pages with nearly 16,000 reviews.
As Maltin said to Deadline –
An entire generation has been raised to acquire all their information online from their mobile devices or computers. These are not the likely customers for a physical paperback reference book. Our sales have sharply declined in recent years. We still have a loyal readership. It’s just smaller than it used to be. There are an awful lot of people who have been loyal to the book and are used to having it on their night stand or their coffee table for years and years and years. Some bought it sporadically and some bought it every year and God bless them.
There’s one thing that was unique to the Maltin Guide that no website can ever replace, and that is something my friends and I call “The Leonard Maltin Game.” The Game is really simple, and I am sure that many of you may have even played a variation of it at one time or another. You simply open up a copy of any edition of the Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide to a random point and count how films you’ve seen on the two open pages. What happens to the loser of the round is up to you. It’s deceptively addicting in its simplicity and if you have a circle of film fan friends it can get pretty competitive. I know my friends wince when I land on a page that contains a number of entries from a film series like the Mexican Spitfire or the Falcon series of b-films. Just to keep playing the game, is reason enough to make sure that you grab a copy when it hits book store shelves later this year.