Ain't It Cool News

Ain't It Cool News (AICN) is a website founded by Harry Knowles and run by his sister Dannie Knowles since September 2017, dedicated to news, rumors and reviews of upcoming and current films, television and comic book projects, with an emphasis on science fiction, superhero, fantasy, horror and action genres.

Ain't It Cool News screenshot
Ain't It Cool News home page
Type of site
Film review, television review, comic books
Available inEnglish
OwnerHarry Knowles
Created byHarry Knowles
Alexa rankDecrease 36,013 (March 2019)[1]
Current statusActive


Ain't It Cool News was launched in 1996, and its name is attributed to a quote from John Travolta's character in the film Broken Arrow.[2] Knowles began surfing the internet while recovering from a debilitating accident in 1994. He spent a lot of time in newsgroups exchanging gossip and rumors about upcoming films, eventually creating his own website as part of his internet hobby. A principal offering was Knowles' colorful movie reviews, but the primary distinction from other sites was the (ostensible) insider news articles. Production assistants, people in the industry, secretaries and other behind-the-scenes folk would submit news such as casting decisions, scripts and release dates, though Knowles himself has admitted that in the beginning, some of the articles from these alleged "spies" were his own work generated from scouring the newsgroups.

Over the next few years the site expanded by adding associate contributors across the globe, most of whom would go by pseudonyms, such as Chicago movie critic Steve Prokopy, who goes by the name "Capone" on AICN, Eric Vespe ("Quint"), Moises Chiullan ("Monty Cristo") and UK-based critic Adam Stephen Kelly ("Britgeek").[3]

The website garnered national attention in 1997 with the release of Batman & Robin. Knowles posted several negative reviews from preview screenings.[4] When the film performed poorly at the box office, studio executives complained that it had been sabotaged by the leaks to the Internet.[5] However, negative reviews from other, more traditional media confirmed what Knowles had posted. From there, the site's popularity rapidly expanded. National magazines such as People and Newsweek called for interviews with Knowles.[6][7]

The site was parodied in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back when the lead characters look at the Movie Poop Shoot site.[8] That site was created at as part of the film's publicity, and existed as a similar site for some time. However, after the release of Clerks II, the site was shut down. A site has since been put back up at that same URL, now run by Quick Stop Entertainment, a company probably best known for running the semi-official site for the TV series Scrubs and the official sites for the other films by Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back writer/director Kevin Smith.

Occasionally, filmmakers interact with fans on the site. Sylvester Stallone answered numerous questions from fans in the site's message boards while publicizing the release of Rocky Balboa as well as The Expendables.[9] Bruce Willis also posted on the website briefly to promote his film Live Free or Die Hard.[10]

On April 5, 2012, the first episode of Ain't It Cool with Harry Knowles was posted on YouTube. This scripted film news show, presented by Harry Knowles, is intended "to translate the fantasy-esque world of Ain't It Cool News to a different medium".[11] In this episode, Knowles reviewed what he claimed to be the script for Ridley Scott's highly anticipated film Prometheus; however, screenwriter Damon Lindelof announced that Knowles must have been "duped", as the script was a fake[12] which had been posted on the Internet almost a month before, Knowles then updated the story on the site and attempted an explanation.[13]

Decline of AICN in popularity

According to an April 5, 2013 article in The Hollywood Reporter, Knowles' site made $700,000 per year in revenue in its early 2000s prime.[14] However, by 2013, traffic had dwindled and ad revenue had dropped to the low six figures.[14] The Hollywood Reporter also noted that Knowles owed $300,000 in back taxes to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service by that point and that the inability of AICN to adapt beyond a dated '90s web template, being outpaced by newer sites and its continuing difficulty generating the scoops and headlines it was known for in its prime.[14]

Sex assault allegations against Harry Knowles

On Sept. 23, 2017, it was reported on IndieWire[15] and circulated in other national media[16] that Knowles had allegedly sexually assaulted a woman named Jasmine Baker on two occasions in 1999 and 2000 at official Alamo Drafthouse events in Austin, Texas, and that when informed of the incidents by Baker, Drafthouse owners took no action. Knowles has since denied the allegations.

In response to the story, a number of Ain't It Cool News contributors resigned from the site.[17] Blogger Horrorella announced her departure on September 24.[18] Longtime writers Steve Prokopy, who used the pseudonym "Capone," and Eric Vespe, who as "Quint," had been with the site since its beginnings, announced September 25 that they were leaving AICN.[19]

On September 25, Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League announced that the company, whose theater had served as home to the annual Butt-Numb-a-Thon film fest Knowles organized to commemorate his own birthday, had severed all ties with Knowles as a result of the controversy,[20] while the Austin Film Critics Association voted to remove Knowles as a member of the group.[21]

By September 26, four more women had come forward on social media and through interviews with IndieWire to accuse Knowles of sexual assault and sexual harassment.[22]

Gloria Walker posted on Twitter and told IndieWire that Knowles had allegedly touched her inappropriately on a number of occasions, including in 2011, and that she had been warned by others about his behavior. Film writer Britt Hayes alleged Knowles had reached out to her in 2011 and told her the "real way" to get admission to the limited seating of Butt-Numb-a-Thon was to show him her breasts.

Another female writer, who asked IndieWire to keep her anonymous, said she was contacted by Knowles via Twitter in April 2017 and, following conversations about film, Knowles began sending her lewd, unsolicited texts. The writer posted what were purported to be screengrabs of the conversations on her Twitter account, on which she writes under a pseudonym.[23]

Former Alamo Drafthouse employee Jill Lewis[24] posted on Facebook, and allowed Indiewire to publish, her account of alleged harassment from Knowles. She said while working at the chain's Highball location, Knowles had grabbed her by the arm, told her he was "high on mushrooms" and said that he and his wife wanted to see her naked that night. Lewis said she politely declined and left. She said Knowles behavior prior to the incident was "common knowledge" among Alamo employees.

As for the site itself, on September 26, Knowles announced that he was stepping down from the site for "therapy, detox, and getting to a better place." He placed his sister, Dannie, who used the moniker "Pekosa Peligrosa," in control, and suggested that he was training her to run the site.[25] Dannie herself started posting September 26, claiming a period of "female control" and intimating that there would be more female-accessible content for the foreseeable future.[26]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  2. ^ Hart, Lianne (August 6, 1997). "This Guy is Driving Hollywood NUTS!". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Okay, kids, play on my lawn" Archived 2010-08-11 at the Wayback Machine, "Roger Ebert's Journal", Chicago Sun-Times, July 1, 2010
  4. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (November 16, 1997). "The Two Hollywoods; Harry Knowles Is Always Listening". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  5. ^ Shaw, David (February 12, 2001). "Cyberspace Taking the 'Sneak' Out of Sneak Previews". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  6. ^ Marin, Rick (July 27, 1998). "The Buzz Machine". Newsweek. Archived from the original on June 12, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  7. ^ "Best of Bytes: Ain't It Cool News". People. December 29, 1997. p. 49.
  8. ^ Whipp, Glenn (August 24, 2001). "Director has right to remain 'silent', but doesn't". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  9. ^ "Round One With Sylvester Stallone Q&A!!". Ain't It Cool News. December 1, 2006. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  10. ^ "Lights, Camera, Action Hero". Belfast Telegraph. June 29, 2007. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  11. ^ Knowles, Harry (April 5, 2012). "AIN'T IT COOL with Harry Knowles: Episode 1..." Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  12. ^ Rosen, Christopher (April 6, 2012). "'Prometheus' Script: Damon Lindelof Comments On Harry Knowles' Review [UPDATE]". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  13. ^ Knowles, Harry (April 6, 2012). "Here's Harry's promised look at the PROMETHEUS script or was it - no outright spoilers - but if you already want to see this film, don't read this!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Espen, Hal; Kit, Borys (March 28, 2013). "Ain't It Cool's Harry Knowles: The Cash-Strapped King of the Nerds Plots a Comeback". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ Erbland, Kate (September 23, 2017). "Harry Knowles Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Austin Woman Two Decades Ago, and Drafthouse Owners Didn't Take Action". IndieWire.
  16. ^ Washington, Arlene (September 24, 2017). "Ain't It Cool News Founder Harry Knowles Accused of Sexual Assault". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  17. ^ Maddaus, Gene (September 25, 2017). "Ain't It Cool News Contributors Step Down Amid Sexual Assault Controversy". Variety.
  18. ^ "Quint, Capone, Horrorella Step Down From Ain't It Cool News In Wake Of Harry Knowles Allegations". 25 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  19. ^ Maddaus, Gene (25 September 2017). "Ain't It Cool News Contributors Step Down Amid Sexual Assault Controversy". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Alamo Drafthouse Severs Ties With Harry Knowles Over Sexual Assault Allegations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  21. ^ Chavez, Danette. "The Austin Film Critics Association votes to remove Harry Knowles". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  22. ^ Erbland, Kate. "Four More Women Accuse Harry Knowles of Sexual Assault and Harassment - IndieWire". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  23. ^ BITCH, THE BLAIR. "I've just unfollowed Harry and also have some interesting screenshots of completely unsolicited messages. I'm tired of dealing with". Twitter. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Jill Lewis". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  25. ^ Harris, Dana. "Harry Knowles To Step Down From AICN After Sexual Assault Accusations - IndieWire". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  26. ^ Peligrosa, Pekosa. "Netflix drops Angelina Jolie's FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER Trailer". Retrieved 29 September 2017.

Further reading

External links

Drew McWeeny

Drew McWeeny (born May 26, 1970), also known by his pseudonym Moriarty, is a film critic, screenwriter, and the former west coast editor of the Ain't It Cool News website. In a December 2008 review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, McWeeny announced that he would be leaving Ain't It Cool News to work for attended but did not graduate from, Florida State University, instead choosing to focus on a career in entertainment in Los Angeles. He has two sons, Toshiro Lucas McWeeny, born in 2005 and Allen Miles McWeeny, born in 2008. He includes his sons in his work on the Motion/Captured blog under the subheading Film Nerd 2.0, chronicling how he introduces them to notable cinema works and individuals.

McWeeny, along with partner Scott Swan, has since become a working television writer, writing two episodes in the Masters of Horror series, both directed by John Carpenter. The pair also co-wrote the episode "Skin and Bones" for the NBC horror/suspense anthology television series Fear Itself. In May 2008 it was announced that Bat Out of Hell, a motion picture written by McWeeny and Swan, would be directed by Joe Dante. He also continues to work as a film critic, though he has been banned from Twentieth Century Fox press screenings.McWeeny is also a regular competitor on Collider's Movie Trivia Schmoedown and on May 15, 2018, he (along with teammate actor Samm Levine) were crowned the tag team champions after famously beating the ultimate tag team champion's known as "The Patriots".

Harry Knowles

Harry Jay Knowles (born December 11, 1971) is a film critic and writer known for his website called Ain't It Cool News. Knowles was a member of the Austin Film Critics Association, from which he was removed in September 2017 "by a substantial majority vote" of the organization following allegations of sexual assault.

Matt Smith (illustrator)

Matt Smith is an illustrator based in Cambridge, Massachusetts who is best known for his work in such children's magazines as Cricket, Highlights for Children, and Muse, as well as the graphic novel edition of Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux. His original graphic novel, Barbarian Lord, was published in 2014 and reviewed favorably by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, which called it a Game of Thrones for younger readers.Smith is also known for creating album cover art and concert posters for Minibosses and as a contributor to FORTY-3, the official Massachusetts College of Art comic journal. He received a Xeric grant for the illustrated poem "Alec Dear", written by Tom Pappalardo of Standard Design. Smith was one of 5 winners of the 2007 Ain't It Cool News 8-bit Art Contest.

Screen Anarchy

Screen Anarchy, previously known as Twitch Film or Twitch, is a Canadian English-language website featuring news and reviews of mainly international, independent and cult films. The website was founded in 2004 by Todd Brown. In addition to films, the website covers various film festivals from Sundance, Toronto and Fantasia to Sitges, Cannes and the Berlinale. They partnered with Instinctive Film in 2011 to found Interactor, a crowd funding and viral marketing site, and with Indiegogo in 2013. Brown is a partner at XYZ Films, and Variety credits Twitch Film as helping to popularize the production company's films.Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting wrote that Twitch "...quickly established itself as the online world’s leading source for international, independent, cult, arthouse and genre film news, review and discussion." He also wrote: "Over the years I have become increasingly impressed by what Todd Brown has done with Twitch Film, he has cornered the market for all edgy international releases and has given life to foreign films that might never have seen the light here in the States." Ain't It Cool News has linked to Twitch Film pages on multiple occasions and quoted a Twitch editor among its list of "critics" at its appearance at Sundance 2010.Screen Anarchy has a large body of writers who reside in most major film markets in the world, including the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.