20th Century Fox spent $200 million making this summer’s alien invasion sequel ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ and probably nearly as much advertising it. And yet, with the movie’s theatrical release coming up just days from now, the studio is refusing to let critics see it in advance. Does that bother you at all, or will you go see it opening weekend anyway?
Generally speaking, withholding a film from critics is considered a bad sign that the studio has lost faith in the movie and expects overwhelmingly poor reviews. Preventing those reviews from being published before release date is a desperate attempt to mitigate negative buzz so that audiences won’t be scared off from seeing it. If the movie were a real crowd-pleaser, positive reviews can only help to build hype and get the audience excited. Why would the studio execs not want that to happen, unless they know their movie is a dog?
On the other hand, we live in an age where audiences have grown increasingly hostile toward film critics, who are seen as crotchety curmudgeons that derive their only meager pleasure in life from shitting all over the most awesomest movies that so-called real people want to see. (The implication being, of course, that critics are not real people, but some sort of soulless robots, or perhaps evil mutant trolls who crawl up from the sewers every couple days to see a movie and then slither back home to type their nasty missives.)
Even if you don’t care what the critics say, does it concern you that the studio is afraid to show the movie to them?