Twitter Was 2023’s Best Movie Theater

Whatever else you can say about X, previously known as Twitter, it’s never really boring. The 17-year-old social media site that we’ve stuck around with always has something going on; in the best cases, it can be either funny or so odd that you can’t help but laugh.

Case in point: throughout 2023, Twitter users decided to post entire movies on the site. Sometimes they were split into multiple parts, other times it was an entire movie in a single post. This all started back in April with the double feature of Super Mario Bros. and Avatar: The Way of Water, with the latter spread across three posts. In truly incredible quality that you’d otherwise see on DVD (or, y’know… watching it in theaters), both films were on the site for several hours and heavily watched—Mario hit nine million views, while Avatar’s total couldn’t be determined since it got deleted first. And though both movies eventually got taken down, the account responsible is both still up at time of writing and immediately followed things up by uploading the entirety of 2007’s Bee Movie.

Just for fun, I kept a tally of the movies that I saw were uploaded to Twitter, or ones that my fellow io9 staff and some friends informed me of. That list consists of: John Wick: Chapter 4 and Creed 3 in May; Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Flash, Titanic, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse in June; Spider-Man: No Way Home, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and the 2011 Wonder Woman pilot in July; Barbie, the first Saw, and Saw X in October, and finally Oppenheimer in mid-November. There’s a good chance I’ve missed some, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it happened, and of the accounts that posted these movies, only two or three have had their accounts suspended—but it’s unclear if that was because of the movie uploads specifically or a separate matter.

Image: Warner Bros./DC Comics

You can thank Twitter Blue for this chaos. Last November, the company’s new boss Elon Musk decided that the premium subscription service would allow paid users to upload longer video and audio than the standard length of around two and a half minutes. Those with Blue have become incredibly chaotic with the feature; along with the movies above, I’ve seen full uploads for episodes of Regular Show and SpongeBob SquarePants at different points this year. Most did it just to say they could, while the person who uploaded Rise of the Beasts acknowledged it was specifically to spite Paramount and stand in support of the then-striking actors.

The degree to which people on Twitter just do not give any degrees of fucks is one of the best things about it. As the site seems to be faced with collapsing in on itself every other month and everyone’s got parachutes ready to deploy over to other sites, many users have stuck around—partially as an act of defiance, and also because Twitter is so incredibly lawless in a way that can’t be fully replicated. Apple made the choice to upload all of the pilot episode to Silo on Twitter (ditto Netflix with the Stranger Things pilot on TikTok), but it wasn’t the same as seeing some random person just post a surprisingly good rip of Blue Beetle or whatever else, just because they were bored. There’s an art to Twitter’s madness that can’t be replicated and makes it kind of hard to break off from, because you’ve put so much of yourself into the site and you want to see what complete stupidity will crop up next on your feed.

In the same way that watching a really good or crowd-pleasing movie in theaters or with friends at home gives you a sense of community, the same is true for watching movies on Twitter. It just has the added benefit of being waaaaaaaay cheaper and no one’s got to spend five minutes fighting the UI.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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