Twitter's @earlybird: Not the most magical debut

Giving away free tickets to a movie that's raking in one terrible review after another might not be the best PR for Twitter's new daily-deals service.

Twitter's hoping to conjure up a new revenue stream with @earlybird, its take on the limited-time-only online deals craze. And the company announced Wednesday its first @earlybird deal: a limited two-for-one ticket deal for the new Disney live-action flick "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," which just hit theaters. It's Twitter's second edgy ad partnership with Disney, after a "promoted trend" in sync with the Pixar film "Toy Story 3."

Unfortunately, Twitter might not want to be launching @earlybird with this turkey, an over-the-top Jerry Bruckheimer action-fest that stars Nicolas Cage. To put it lightly, it has not exactly been casting a positive spell on critics.

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is currently being heralded with reviews that contain snippets like "a mere jumble of special effects, hoping to catch kids searching for a quick summer substitute for 'Harry Potter,'" "a tired relic of summer-movie cliches, clearly beaten to death by far too many credited writers," "another in a string of recent black marks against Cage's Oscar-owning reputation," and "it makes you wonder just how bad (Nicolas Cage's) financial situation is that he allows himself to be lured into pedestrian paycheck pictures like this."

The best snippet, from the Garden State's own Star-Ledger: "This being a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, there's also a slam-bang car chase through a crowded downtown--not because wizards would need cars but because this is a Jerry Bruckheimer movie." Or from UGO: "I hate (co-star) Jay Baruchel. He has a very specific delivery and to me it sounds like FIRE ANTS EATING THEIR WAY THROUGH MY BRAIN."

Oof. (For the record, I thought Baruchel was very funny in "Tropic Thunder," especially when his character delves into a rant about HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray.)

The problem for Twitter? Well, critics appear to agree that the movie blows chunks, and the maiden voyage of @earlybird thus appears to be a desperate ticket giveaway rather than a legitimately great deal. Will people buy it? Sure, especially parents looking for a bargain. But daily (or semi-daily) deals--and not just Twitter's @earlybird--do need to keep tabs on quality as they grow and proliferate. There are plenty of other options out there, after all .

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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