MONTREAL - The director of one of this summer's most popular movies says the rise of such social networking sites as Twitter and Facebook will put more pressure on filmmakers to deliver the goods.
The days when eight people would gather around the office water cooler on a Monday morning and praise or pan a movie they saw Friday night are being overtaken by tweets and Facebook postings, says Todd Phillips.
"In the old days, it used to be the water cooler effect," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "Now people get on their thing Friday night when they leave and talk to 8,000 people."
Warner Bros. Pictures says Phillips' buddy comedy "The Hangover" has become the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time since its release last month, surpassing Eddie Murphy's "Beverly Hills Cop" from the mid-1980s.
Phillips, who says a sequel to "The Hangover" is in the works, grins widely when asked how he feels about toppling the iconic Murphy flick.
"I feel bad," he says with a chuckle.
"The enthusiasm that 'The Hangover' has been met with around the world - I mean, it's up to like $325 million at the box office - is absurd and nothing we ever really expected.
"It's totally thrilling."
Distributors crank up the hype machine when a movie is released. Internet postings seem to allow consumers to cut through the bluster a lot faster than before.
"I think the Internet has affected it more than people like to admit," Phillips said.
"Believe it or not, I do think what we're going to see in the next few years is movies (will) have to deliver on what their marketing is putting out there."
He said the effects are already being seen this summer as some highly touted movies have quickly fizzled. He didn't give any names, however.
Phillips says he believes one of the reasons "The Hangover" worked is because it lived up to its marketing.
"Whether you liked the movie or not, you looked at the trailers and the commercials and we delivered the movie."
Phillips, whose other well-known work includes "Old School" with Will Ferrell, the movie version of "Starsky and Hutch" with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson and "Road Trip," was in Montreal recently to get the comedy director of the year award at the Just for Laughs festival.
His next project is called "Due Date" but he won't say any more about it other than it starts shooting in the fall and will be out next summer.
Phillips is known for wringing every possible laugh out of the characters in his films, which usually focus on the awkward bonding involved in male friendships.
"There's so much comedy to mine from male relationships," he says, although he tries to always ground the stories in reality so they strike a chord with audiences.
"That sounds absurd because the things going on in "The Hangover" are ridiculous but the guys feel real and I think that's what gets people involved. They feel like they're your friends."
He acknowledged he did punch up the script because the original writers envisioned it for a younger audience, something he said was "a difficult thing for me to wrap my head around."
"I don't think 30-year-old guys who go to Las Vegas are going to live in a PG-13 world," he said. "We kind of mixed it up a little bit."
Getting an R rating is not a problem for him if the material adds to the reality of the characters.
"I think when people make R-rated movies just to show bare breasts and just to be extreme, I don't think people respond to that. There's enough of that out there on the Internet."
"The Hangover" revolves around the misadventures of three hapless buddies who lose the groom after a wild, drunken bachelor party in Las Vegas.
Along the way, they somehow come into possession of a baby, encounter a tiger and cross paths with boxing legend Mike Tyson.
Despite the old adage about never working with children or animals, Phillips said it was easy to work with them - and the ex-heavyweight champ.
"Mike was amazing," Phillips recalled. "The tiger was not as hard as you think. The trainer just hits him on the nose and the tiger reacts badly. But you can't do that with a baby, apparently. The baby was the hardest."