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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Adding "No Guests" Injury To "Wait Til 29 Hours Before Release To See The Movie" Insult

This went out to professional journalists, regarding the Monday screening of War of the Worlds in non-LA/NY markets. Oy!
“Greetings!
Just a few reminders about the upcoming WAR OF THE WORLDS screening this Monday, June 27 – we appreciate in advance for your cooperation!
Absolutely NO GUESTS – we will have a reserved section for press and it is for press only. Even if you do not plan on seating in the reserved section, there will still be no guests allowed. Everyone (except for press) entering the theater will need a physical ticket.
We have been asked to increase security measures at the theater. This means everyone will be go thru the wanding process, and no one will be allowed to bring in any purses, handbags, backpacks (anything that remotely resembles these items), no cameras, tape recorders, cell phones, picture phones, etc…
We think you get the idea. We are strongly suggesting you leave all these types of items at home. However, if you choose to bring them, we will have a place for you to check them and all items will be kept in a secure, locked area during the screening and returned immediately following.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and again, we greatly appreciate your cooperation.
Thank you very much.”

62 Responses to “Adding "No Guests" Injury To "Wait Til 29 Hours Before Release To See The Movie" Insult”

  1. Paul V says:

    Maybe it is the fact it is only getting mix reviews overseas and do not want to roll out with less critic prise than Batman and ROTS got?

  2. Wrecktum says:

    Awwww….the press (who are getting paid to see a movie) can’t bring their wives. Poor babies. Here, here’s a lollipop.

  3. moviefreek says:

    jeez, that movie critics gig sounds like a tough job. surprised they can still find anyone to do it anymore. imagine that – they gotta see a movie all by THEMSELVES!

  4. Mr LargeTeethStar says:

    Dear David Poland,
    Dave…Dave! How are ya.
    I am very concerned that you appear to be complaining. It affects my Clarity. I have asked, Personally(!), that your ticket be revoked.
    SIncerely, and with no alien hard feelings,
    Operating Thetan VII

  5. Count Mackuluv says:

    As a critic in a city that hardly ever gets screenings earlier than 2 days in advance of a movie’s opening, I wonder what the big the deal is. It’s bad enough when Ebert and Roeper do their “wagging finger of shame” thing–trying to make viewers relate to this horrible corruption of human rights. But you’ve always been to shrewd for it. Ego has killed criticism as is, and there’s more to these jobs than serving as Consumer Guides. The movie will come out, and we’ll have things to say about it then.

  6. GdB says:

    My Gut says that they’re using the old Jaws/Hitchcock “Don’t Show Anything” campaign that worked for Jurrasic Park to hide real problems.

  7. Double D says:

    It’s like Paramount goes out of its way to piss of the reviewers (like reviews will have a 1% impact to the domestic gross). But still, its not like the A/C broke in the theater or they are forcing them to watch the spanish dubbed version.

  8. L&DB says:

    WOTW still smells like ASS. If it gets a rating higher than 53 from Rotten Tomatoes. I will be bloody shocked. This flick RIPS OFF SIGNS! Unlike M. Night’s little faith tone poem. The Beard had to spend a 100 million to add HORRIBLE ALIEN CGI to the flick. This film should fail and fail big.

  9. Josh Massey says:

    This reminds me how Sony was acting right before “Godzilla.” I was a paid critic at that point, and had to fight just to get one ticket to a screening – just 36 hours before it opened.

  10. hatchling says:

    What’s the big deal?
    The whiners are just mad they can’t scoop someone else, or impress their friends and family with how they’re Hollywood insiders.
    Reviews are not going to affect the opening numbers. The public is, as usual, swallowing the hype and that’s all she wrote.

  11. Lota says:

    Aw cmon L&DB. Signs was a thinly veiled Christian revisionist view of WOTW! Speilberg is just doing a re-interpretation of WOTW so this is why it has the Signs vibe. I was hoping it would have more of a CLose Encounters vibe, but seems unlikely.
    Sounds like SPielberg is trying perhaps too closely to reinterpret the 1898 tale into modern times;maybe some of the science (although HG Wells was way beyond his time) has been oversimplified in trying to update it…and CGI will only make it less believable. Instead of sensible scientific stuff which is dark and subtle, I bet they went for big visible effects.
    The average 12 year old is well up on the science-possible stuff through technical gaming, written by super geeks. SO if the young-uns don’t buy the sequence of it, I bet the movie will bomb. And the Signs water torture solution didn’t impress the geeks, just the folks who believe in all that nutty crop circle News of the world stuff.

  12. joefitz84 says:

    This makes me think this is going to bomb. Huge.

  13. Kernan says:

    In the days before the internet the review embargo was something no one ever considered a problem. Reviews always came out on Fridays. Now the New York Times, LA Times and other major outlets regularly try and get a jump on the internet guys with early reviews on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Variety and the Hollywood Reporter jump the gun every week.
    Regardless of the embargo most reviews arrive the day of release and as one smart poster noted in this talkback reviews do not have nearly the power they used to in helping or hurting box office of films as big and hyped as War Of The Worlds.
    All of this is part of how studios work the press and the press work the studios. It’s a constant struggle of studios trying to control press exposure and the press simply doing the job of reporting or criticizing without getting worked by the studio.
    As a local radio critic and internet writer I rarely get to see anything earlier than the night before the film is released so I can review it the following morning and it’s never hurt my ability to provide critical perspective. I generally have about 4 hours from seeing the movie to reviewing it on the radio and I have no complaints.

  14. L&DB says:

    Lota, what I refer to with Signs, comes down to The Beard’s whacky way of depicting the film. As shot through the perspective of the family involved with an alien invasion. Even reading another early review. It seems as if Spielberg eliminated the Gibson character from Signs. Leaving just loser uncle Jason Phoenix to take care of the older brother and younger sister. Ridiculous might have a hard time encapsulating this flick next week. I hope for the best, but I can smell it from here.

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Something to think about: Many (if not most) major metropolitan newspapers do

  16. jesper says:

    so the critics can’t bring family and friends to screening – feel so sorry for You.
    why should you be able to do that anyway ?

  17. jeffmcm says:

    LDB: SIGNS IS A HORRIBLE MOVIE. Spielberg would not rip it off. He’s smarter than that. At most he would look at it and say “I can do better than that” and proceed.

  18. Josh Massey says:

    I just don’t get the hate for “Signs.” I loved that movie.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    It was very entertaining. It was also manipulative, contrived, and corrupt.

  20. KamikazeCamel says:

    “My Gut says that they’re using the old Jaws/Hitchcock “Don’t Show Anything” campaign that worked for Jurrasic Park to hide real problems.”
    What exactly was wrong with Jurassic Park (correct spelling)??
    I doubt any joe blow moviegoer particularly cares that a critic didn’t get to see the movie weeks in advance enough for them to go “ooh, it must be bad. let’s not see it.”

  21. john maguire says:

    Here in Ireland we got a similar message prior to next Monday’s press screening that advises us not to bring anything at all into the room, sign and date an entry card and submit to a pat-down from secutiry staff. Any review is embargoed until the 29th, on pain of, I dunno, not being let into the Madagascar screening the next day.
    When America decides civil liberties aren’t important, who are we Europeans to start crying when the bouncer starts cupping your groin to check for that Canon Optura 60 you tucked into your shorts at the behest of the Russian mafia goons who’ve got your girlfriend in the boot of their car? Nobody, that’s who.

  22. bakednudel says:

    The worst thing about that invite was all the grammatical errors! It sounded as if it had been written in some other language, then translated into English.
    Is this the exact wording of the invitation? If so, yikes!

  23. Kernan says:

    John McGuire either that was a very subtle bit of satire or you have lost your mind. Civil Liberties!
    It’s a showing of a movie. What’s more it’s Paramount’s movie and they can choose to show it however they want.
    If you want to break the embargo you are free to do so. There is no criminal penalty. You will not be invited to future Paramount premieres and you will likely lose access to Paramount promotional materials but you will not be arrested for it.
    When critics begin to complain about being paid to watch movies we demonstrate why fewer and fewer people take what we say seriously.

  24. Kernan says:

    I should say Paramount/Dreamworks, it’s a co-production

  25. bicycle bob says:

    what did u love about signs? i think it was good but i wouldn’t use the l word on it. unbreakable i loved. signs definately not love.

  26. Terence D says:

    I do like Gibson, Phoenix and the kids over Cruise, Robbins and those kids.

  27. Kernan says:

    Signs was a terrific movie maybe Shyamalan’s best.

  28. Clay says:

    No, Signs sucked.

  29. PJ says:

    A couple of thoughts here…
    First, to those of you who think the press are whining about bringing guests, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? If you can win 2 tickets from your local radio station and it’s a public promo screening, why shouldn’t the members of the press be allowed to bring 1 guest. If it’s a private press only screening, that’s a different situation…and they shouldn’t be allowed to bring in 6 people with them..(I have seen this) but one guest? C’mon.
    The short window to me is no big deal….so everyone is on a fairly level playing field and Paramount/Dreamworks don’t want to spoil their publicity tour in advance, so be it….though Joe Leydon is right….SOME critics do tend to take the circumstances out on the movie and it’s a whole lot easier and fun to write a bad review on short notice.

  30. LesterFreed says:

    Signs was a brutal film.

  31. Stella's Boy says:

    Signs is pretty awful, especially the last 10-15 minutes. Turns into a comedy.

  32. BluStealer says:

    Who didn’t laugh at the whole Jouquin swing away stuff?

  33. Stella's Boy says:

    The Drudge Report has a transcript posted from an interview Matt Lauer did with Cruise this morning. Funny stuff. Cruise really lectures and scolds him.

  34. LesterFreed says:

    The trick ending stuff. Don’t like it. Really hard to pull off and he might have peaked with Sixth Sense in regards to that.

  35. Terence D says:

    Why is Tom Cruise doing this? Where does he get off talking about psychiatry and drugs? Did I miss where he became a doctor? Actors. Such know it alls.

  36. GdB says:

    Any movie (re: Signs)that features a story where Aliens that are smart enough to have Interstellar technology, decide to invade a planet that is %75 composed of the one material that can kill them (water) is an ASANINE plot hole. That movie sucks balls.
    And Kamakize, nothing is wrong with Jurassic Park, what I was trying to articulate was that they appeared to be using the same marketing campaign they used for Jurassic. You know Speilberg’s Hitchcock thing, don’t show the shark, don’t show T-Rex, don’t show the aliens.
    When I posted that, I was under the impression that maybe this time it was to hide problems with WOTW. But I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore.

  37. togmeister says:

    We’re wandering a little off topic here, but can we PLEASE lay to rest the popular myth that the aliens in ‘Signs’ were killed by water. For the umpteenth time, THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN!! It was the human-made chemicals and pollutants IN the water that overcame them. That’s why Mel’s daughter kept refusing to drink the water saying it was’contaminated’. That’s why we see a news report at the end of the movie explaining that ‘a primitive method’ was found in the Third World to defeat the invaders, the water there being ‘dirtier’ and more ‘contaminated’ than in the more developed countries. It’s all there if you’re watching closely.

  38. BluStealer says:

    Togmeister is M Night S. (not even going to attempt to spell that last name. thank you very much) Forget pollutants. It was the water. Or at least we’re lead to believe it is.

  39. bicycle bob says:

    i guess water has to be it since obviously these aliens would destroy all of us. granted wells did write the novel over 100 yrs ago. before even cars were around. genuis

  40. Joe Leydon says:

    Truth is stranger than fiction. But fiction can sometimes foresee truth. This is what H.G. Wells wanted for his own epitaph:

  41. jeffmcm says:

    If the water is so ‘contaminated’ then why doesn’t it kill everyone, Mel Gibson and aliens alike? You’re making stuff up out of very thin air, togmeister.

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    If you didn

  43. L&DB says:

    Jeff, and War of the Worlds will be just as HORRIBLE as SIGNS! Again, I actually like Signs. It’s a nice little flick about the intricacies of faith. A lot people find it to be bollocks, but I enjoy it nonetheless. However, Tog, explains the water perfectly. Also, you can drink contaminated water all the time. It just depends on how contaminated it is. So a rural area with a 98 percent functional water purification treatment centre. Would be just enough to gaffle some Aliens. Also, just because you have interstellar star travel. That does not mean you wont be a dumb ass. Watch Invader Zim. But this flick is nothing more than a SIGNS rip-off excluding FAITH. I just hope Jeff has the TESTICULAR FORTITUDE to slam this film when he sees it. If not, then he’s just being a BEARD homer, and nothing more.

  44. Mark says:

    Signs was just really too slow. Hopefuly War will be a little faster paced.

  45. Chester says:

    Thanks, Joe, for the Keith Olbermann tip. I watched it and, man oh man, that Lauer interview is going to haunt Cruise for a LONG time, probably for the rest of his professional career. Anyone who thought the whole TomKat insanity has been a bunch of overblown tabloid hooey will very likely have a different perspective after today. And, yes, I think this latest episode is going to hurt “War of the Worlds” at the box office (at least a little). If Spielberg wasn’t pissed before, I’m sure he is now.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    All your Signs theorizing is not supported by anything in the movie itself. And while Signs is indeed about faith, nothing about it is intricate except for the ridiculous contrivances that make the ending come together.
    LDB, there are a bunch of Spielberg movies I don’t like. Hook and Always are horrible. Amistad and The Terminal try way too hard. But I think you’re the one going into it having already made up their mind, not me.

  47. KamikazeCamel says:

    “Signs was a terrific movie maybe Shyamalan’s best.”
    “No, Signs sucked.”
    How intelligable of you. Care you explain why? I agree that Signs is Shyamalan’s best. He really got into a groove there. And the “twist” wasn’t the point of the movie unlike his other movies. The water thing that tog talked about was spot on. What may not be harmful to ass may very well be harmful TO A RACE OF ALIENS THAT DON’T EXIST.
    To paraphrase David Twohy “In science fiction you can make up your own rules.”
    To be honest, I don’t think there’s a race called wookies out there but for some reason people don’t question it…

  48. KamikazeCamel says:

    Oh, one last thing about the embargo. What about international critics? WotW opens on Wednesday here too, which is a whole 18 hours before America.
    I’m sure if people are that desperate to find out what happens they can still find out.
    It’s stupid is what it is.

  49. Joyfool says:

    Gdb, I agree signs blew big time. And your on the money w/ regards to the water plot hole. It’s not the contaminants! that’s just monday morning quarterbacking…LDB and TOG – please explain how these aliens can fly spaceships but can’t open doors. they have legs powerful enough to jump over barns but they can’t break a window…
    It’s a bunch of horse doodoo. Actually the story would have been more compelling had the aliens never made an appearance. It could have been a story about the question of faith and fear and histeria. In the end MNS needed something as simple as “the common cold” to kill off the aliens and water was the way to go.
    He most certainly is a hack. I’d say a couple of words on the Village but I slept through most of it – that oughtta do.
    peace out.

  50. jeffmcm says:

    All I know about the end of Signs is, it sure as hell looks like it was the water that killed the alien. People can make up all kinds of crazy explanations to rationalize it, maybe it was the fluorine in the water, maybe it had a bad pH level, maybe it was the ghost of a murdered Japanese girl who died in a well out for revenge and the alien was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But none of that stuff is in the movie.
    Anyway, my feelings on M. Night are that he’s an immensely talented director who unfortunately works with one of the worst writers in Hollywood, aka himself.

  51. Joyfool says:

    to get back on point. who cares about inviting guests to premiers. unless your using these events to get laid, I don’t know why you’re complaining. Could that be it? Are some critics trying to score gals/guys with movie tickets? the horror!

  52. Anonymous says:

    Back to Signs: the point that the solution was discovered in the “third world” is to underscore the simplicity of water as our salvation. Which as I write this makes me think of a babtism. In any case it’s an HG Wells ripoff.

  53. Sean Burns says:

    Okay,
    So we’ve somehow backtracked into the old SIGNS arguement here, but what I think Dave was getting at (and he’ll probably be shocked that I agree with him for a change) is that regular folks might cluck their tongues and claim we critic-types should “be professional enough” to turn around our reviews in 12 hours… but how well does that really serve the reader?
    I agree that it might seem silly for everybody to be whining about how and when they get their free advance access (and honestly, I could give a shit less about the “no guests” rule. I’m a critic – I don’t have any friends!) but I think the reviews come out far less thoughtfully when we crit-types are forced to immediately hammer out broad first impressions before even being able to sleep on it and work the movie over a bit in our heads.
    It happens more often than you’d expect out here in “the B-markets” and this stuff never turns out being writing I’m particularly happy with — but I guess them’s just the breaks?
    Another downside, I saw that horse’s ass Tom O’Neill on CNN tonight claiming that Cruise’s recent insane freakout was just an elaborate cover for the fact that WAR OF THE WORLDS “is one of the worst movies ever made. It’s a career-ending bomb.”
    This dipshit hasn’t even seen the movie, and he somehow seems to thinks that the biggest movie star in the world’s insane career-suicide is somehow a smart way to promote a sure-fire turkey — that’s the kind of conjecture crap that’s floating around out there on the cable channels right now.
    No matter how the movie turns out, it’s gotta be better than this kind of publicity, no?
    -SB

  54. Kernan says:

    Tom O’Neill is clearly even more insane than Mr. Cruise.

  55. Kernan says:

    To the no guests complaints. Critics can be reprimanded by the studio if they break the embargo but what if the critics guest decided to be a hero at AICN and delivers an anonymous review. That would defeat the purpose of the embargo.
    Your never going to stop people from working around the studio rules and if someone wants to do that I have no problem with someone thumbing their nose at a Hollywood studio. It is however the studio’s movie and they can make up whatever ridiculous rules they want and punish those who break the rules in whatever ticky tack way they choose. Until it’s released it’s their movie to do with what they will.

  56. DavidPoland says:

    Someone at the L.A. screening for five outlets did post to AICN… unless, of course, that rave was written by someone at Paramount, which is as likely as not.

  57. Angelus21 says:

    No one would do what Cruise is doing as a cover up. No one can acxt this loony. It is just not possible.

  58. Lota says:

    funny that on IMDB the votes are either a “10” for WOTW or a “1”!
    with the large number of votes so quickly, I bet many voting haven’t even seen the full final cut, but have seen portions, i.e.friends of production (67% of IMDB voters giving any movie a 10 is unlikely enit?), and those giving it a 1, maybe fans of Charles Darwin?
    I’ll see it anyway, despite backend going into the back pocket of Scientology, if there’s any back end at all.

  59. jeffmcm says:

    What does it mean, “fans of Charles Darwin”?

  60. Lota says:

    Wells is a very Darwinian writer re. how he sees the interactions of creatures with each other, their environment etc. he alarmingly way before his time (and so was Mary Shelley).
    Apparently the new WOTW is not very amenable to the school of thought that spawned Wells, Darwin or Wallace (another contemporary of Darwinian thought).
    can’t say anymore, but read the WOTW book and compare to both the ’53 version and this new interp.
    it will be interesting to see it now esp since Scientology theory proposes many ‘beliefs’ that would Also be anti-Darwin. L. Ron Hubbard had to become a “fundamentalist” of sorts in order to separate weak-minded fools from their money (or their rich parents’ money), and many of his little stories oppose concepts of genetic fitness and evolution.

  61. jeffmcm says:

    Have you seen the movie?
    Are you talking about certain rumors regarding the true status of the invaders?
    I guess we’ll all know after Wednesday.

  62. Lota says:

    a friend saw the movie in Europe but i wouldn’t let him tell me the ending except to say he thought i would be annoyed re. what i said above.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin