One of the main reasons why we’re constantly talking about Attack The Block (which is opening in selected cities on July 29) is not only because it’s an interesting film (well to me it is), but also because Sony/Screen Gems has been advance screening this film A LOT everywhere. I’ve lost count how many invites I’ve gotten to see the film, and some in cities I don’t even live in.
Since they picked up the film for domestic distribution they’re been hyping it, showing it in advance previews to get the word out and develop good word-of-mouth, because they believe they have a real sleeper summer hit on their hands.
On the other hand, there’s Paramount’s and Marvel’s $140 million Captain America opening in thousands of theaters nationwide, and in some countries overseas, on Friday, July 22nd. However I found out yesterday that the studio is not allowing any advance media or public screenings until the Weds night before the film. In order words, no one is allowed to see the film until 36 hours before it opens theatrically.
No matter how you cut it or slice it, that means one thing: it’s a stinker and Paramount is trying to limit, as best they can, any bad advance word before the film comes out. However in this age of Twitter (and no I don’t tweet or twit or twat or whatever it’s called), social networking and instant communications, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Word will no doubt get out before the film comes out.
Of course Paramount might show the film in advance to a few, as EFilm Crtic’s Erik Childress has famously called them, “quote whores”. So-called, alleged “film critics” who are willing to sell their souls and integrity to studios for some pre-packaged, lame review quotes, to be put into ads for the films. But that would be a last “Hail Mary” pass that won’t fool anyone except the extremely naive or stupid.
But in a summer so far that has had its share of box office disappointments and under-performers, studios are scrambling to contain the damage as best they can.