As fan sites like chud.com, joblo.com and Ain't It Cool News have sprung up in the past five years, studio honchos have either feared their power or dismissed them as silly geek diversions.
Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles is even producing projects at Revolution and Paramount--a remarkable new role for a Web impresario operating at arm's length from the studio system.
Studios are letting sites like Ain't It Cool News talk back to them, using the chatter as an unscientific polling of elusive genre fans between the ages of 18 and 35--who can be the hardest to reach but also the most likely to show up on opening night.
FAN BUZZ Ain't it Cool News Undisputed heavyweight in the space, Harry www.aint-it-cool-news.com Knowle's site specializes in spoilers and insider tips.
Online (eonline.com), CNN.com, ABC.com, MSNBC.com, Inside.com and Hollywood.com to the more amateuristic destinations such as Harry Knowles' Ain't It Cool News (aintitcoolnews.com) or dot-coms announcing the latest DVD releases.
The current going rate for a CPM on Ain't It Cool News averages around $20, while Web-based news service Inside.com is around $30, because of the site's more defined readership.
Sites including Ain't It Cool News, DarkHorizons (darkhorizons.com) and Coming Attractions (corona.bc.ca/films) have teamed up with the major online advertising agencies to draw the big bucks from the likes of Levis, General Motors, Sony and Mercedes Benz.