As a rule, movie studios never hide movies they’re proud of. So when Fox last week showed, to crowds of New York and LA critics, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” their big holiday Oscar bait, they at least THOUGHT the Ben Stiller movie was going to hit top ten lists.
It didn’t work out that way, and the studio cannot have been happy the movie got savaged by a lot of premature reviewing. But they thought it was good, they let people see it, and they discovered otherwise.
Fox knew how bad “Runner Runner” was, so they only screened that in Australia and in the US on the Wed. before opening. Beaten to a pulp.
Now Open Road is conceding this weekend to “Captain Phillips” by hiding “Machete Kills” from most American critics. They’re showing it at 9 p.m. Wednesday night, WAY after paid critics’ deadlines. And the earliest reviews, from the premiere and perhaps a SXSW or some other fan fest screening, have no endorsements by legit, discriminating reviewers. A few hacks gave it a pandering thumbs up. Otherwise, universal derision is greeting this latest Robert Rodriguez/Danny Trejo vehicle.
When studios are really ashamed of a movie, they don’t show it at all. When they don’t want you to know how bad it is, they show it at 9 p.m. on a Wednesday in a theme park theater way out in the boonies (Disney World, Universal Studios). They’re sending a message. “We know how this is, and we don’t want you to know until after the last minute.”
I can hardly wait.