Letterboxd
Type of site
Social cataloging application for films
Available inEnglish
OwnerTiny (holding company) (60%)
Created by
  • Matthew Buchanan
  • Karl von Randow
URLletterboxd.com
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
Users10 million[1]
LaunchedOctober 2011; 12 years ago (2011-10)
Current statusActive

Letterboxd (/ˈlɛtərbɒkst/ LEH-tər-bokst) is an online social cataloging service co-founded by Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow in 2011. It was launched as an app focused on sharing opinions about, and love of film, and is maintained by a small team in Auckland, New Zealand. The site allows users to share their taste in films.[2] Members can write reviews or share their opinions about films, keep track of what they have seen in the past, record viewing dates, make lists of films and showcase their favorite films, as well as meet and interact with other cinephiles. Films can be rated, reviewed, added to a specific date's diary entry, included in a list, and tagged with relevant keywords.

History

The site was launched at Brooklyn Beta.[3] It transitioned from private to public beta on 24 April 2012,[4][5] and all pages became publicly visible. Membership remained invitation-only until 8 February 2013, when it was opened for public use.[6] The site also introduced a tiered structure, with both free and paid memberships, which allow access to multiple features including personalized "Year in Review" pages.[7] In September 2020, Letterboxd announced a new membership type for film-related organizations, from festivals to arthouse theaters to podcasts, to participate with tools better suited than the individual-oriented basic profile.[8]

The userbase doubled from the previous year to more than 3 million by January 2021.[9] In an article for The Ringer, film critic Scott Tobias called Letterboxd "the safest space for film discussion we've got" due to its community and discussion-based model in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

The 100 millionth film was marked as watched on the site on 15 May 2017, six years after launch. As of 20 July 2022, members have marked over 1 billion films as watched.[11] An internal survey conducted in late 2022 showed that there were 9 million users who outperformed general moviegoers in all areas (from frequency of theater visits, to Blu-ray and DVD purchases).[12]

Six films have held the title of highest-rated narrative on Letterboxd: The Godfather, Parasite, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Come and See, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Harakiri; Harakiri is the current title-holder as of June 2023.[13][14]

In September 2023, Tiny (holding company), a Canadian holding company based in Victoria, British Columbia, acquired a 60% majority stake in Letterboxd, valuing the company at around $50–60 million. Co-founders Buchanan and von Randow continue to lead the company.[15]

As of October 2023, Letterboxd is in the process of adding television shows to the site. Though the decision to add TV shows has been met with some controversy by the Letterboxd community, Buchanan has assured users that the introduction of television to the platform will not disrupt current user experience.[16]

Features

Anyone can read content on the site. An account is required for users who want to participate. All members can rate films, review films, and tag them with relevant keywords. Ratings follow the five-star system, with half-stars also allowed. They may also maintain lists of films they have watched or want to watch, and interact with other members. A follower model enables members to follow and get updates about the activity of others on the site. Lists could originally only be made public or private to the user. In April 2023, finer controls were added which allowed sharing a list with specific users via a secret link.[17]

Letterboxd is available as a mobile app for Android and iOS.[18][19]

Film data

All film-related metadata used on the website is supplied by The Movie Database (TMDB), an open source database.[20] In September 2019, the site partnered with JustWatch to display online viewing options for films.[21] In March 2022, the site partnered with Nanocrowd to show "nanogenres" and recommendations for similar films to users.[22][23]

References

  1. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (29 September 2023). "Letterboxd, Online Haven for Film Nerds, Gets a New Owner". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  2. ^ "Frequent questions". letterboxd.com. Archived from the original on 28 October 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Brooklyn Beta 2011". brooklynbeta.org. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Letterboxd: Social website for film fans launches - latimes.com". 28 April 2012. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  5. ^ "What on earth is Letterboxd?". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on 17 October 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Letterboxd, the social network for movie buffs, goes freemium and finally opens to everyone". The Next Web. 8 February 2013. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Pro". Letterboxd News. 8 February 2013. Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Office Space". Letterboxd News. 17 September 2020. Archived from the original on 6 October 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  9. ^ Marsh, Calum (13 January 2021). "Is Letterboxd Becoming a Blockbuster?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 13 February 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  10. ^ Tobias, Scott (18 September 2020). "The Future of Film Talk Is on Letterboxd". The Ringer. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  11. ^ "There are now one billion films watched on Letterboxd". Twitter. Archived from the original on 19 July 2022. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  12. ^ Lambert, Harper (26 May 2023). "Letterboxd Unboxed: How a Grassroots Social Network Is Revolutionizing Film Fandom". TheWrap. Archived from the original on 6 June 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  13. ^ "The Score: we've updated our weighted-rating calculations". Letterboxd. 19 June 2023. Archived from the original on 1 August 2023. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  14. ^ Moulton, Jack (19 June 2023). "Films that have ranked as Letterboxd's official all-time number one". Letterboxd. Archived from the original on 1 August 2023. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  15. ^ Spangler, Todd (29 September 2023). "Letterboxd Acquired by Canadian Firm in Deal Valuing It at $50 Million". Variety. Archived from the original on 29 September 2023. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  16. ^ Spangler, Todd (5 October 2023). "Letterboxd Founders on Selling Their Company, Expanding Into TV: 'We Need Some Mentorship to Take Us to the Next Level'". Variety. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Between Us: private list sharing comes to Letterboxd • Journal • A Letterboxd Magazine". letterboxd.com. 14 April 2023. Archived from the original on 18 August 2023. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  18. ^ "Letterboxd launches its movie social network on the iPhone". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 17 October 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Letterboxd News". Letterboxd News. 30 August 2017. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  20. ^ Cole, Samantha (17 August 2021). "Letterboxd Welcomes Porn Reviews". Vice.com. Archived from the original on 17 August 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  21. ^ Stuart, Gwynedd (8 November 2019). "How Letterboxd Is Trying to Get an Edge Over Other Movie Apps". Los Angeles Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  22. ^ March, Roderic (1 March 2022). "Nanocrowd and Letterboxd Help You Find Movies and Series You'll Love to Watch". Nanocrowd. Archived from the original on 2 March 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  23. ^ Gracewood, Gemma (15 March 2022). "Film Feelings: using 'nanogenres' to find similar films". Letterboxd. Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.