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Alyson Hannigan - "Date Movie" - Hollywood skips critics for box office success
lundi 20 février 2006, par Webmaster
Hollywood released four films in the past five weeks without offering advanced screenings, denying critics a chance to write potentially negative reviews.
It’s a ploy that one analyst calls a "stealth marketing trick."
Date Movie, a comedy from 20th Century Fox, is the most recent film to bypass critics. Trailers suggest it makes a virtue out of low-brow humour, but audiences were left to judge for themselves whether it’s funny.
"In the case of Date Movie, there were no critics’ screenings, so I have not seen the film yet," Rod Gustafson, from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, told CTV News. "They’re using the stealth marketing technique."
He added the studios will hide a film from critics to prevent bad reviews, in order to "make a fortune on the first weekend before people realize how bad it is."
The tactic seems to be working.
The Martin Lawrence comedy, Big Momma’s House 2, opened to $28 million US across North America in its first weekend. It was the second-best January opening ever.
But when the film opened on Jan. 27, it was hard to find any reviews discussing its merits.
"I was not privileged to a screening of that and I don’t know that anybody else was," Gustafson.
Reviews that came out after its release were almost universally negative.
But despite the harsh reviews, Big Momma’s House 2 only dropped to second place the following weekend, earning more than $13 million US.
Despite the lack of evidence that bad reviews hurt box office success, Gustafson said he would likely make the same decision on something like Date Movie.
"If I was sitting in the marketing department of a movie studio, and I had Date Movie sitting on my desk, I don’t know if I would have made a different decision," he said.
Critics like Gustafson will be watching the box office carefully to see how Date Movie performs.
But at least one filmgoer thought any reviews would have been positive anyway.
"I think it would have gotten pretty good reviews," said one viewer. "It depends what kind of critics did the write-up. Because it appeals more to teens than to adults."
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