So as you know, almost all films are screened in advance before they’re released. There are
media screenings for critics, interviewers and other media types; and then there are
word-of-mouth, promotional screenings for the public.
the promo audience and media screenings are done together, and they’re held from a few days, to a week before the film’s release, so that press reviews for the film can come out in time for the Friday
Now, in the
case of media only screenings, they’re usually done a few weeks, or sometimes a month in advance, such
as for “The Equalizer,” which was held two weeks ago in most cities. That’s
always a strong sign of confidence by the studio that they think they have good
film on their hands. And though the studios may say that there’s an embargo on any
reviews for a film (usually until a few days before, or the day the film is released), they
really don’t mind if the media starts saying positive things about the film, long before it’s released in theaters.
However, if a
studio has no confidence in a film, and expect that it’s going to get bad reviews, they either hold up screenings for the film until a day or two before it’s released; or, if it the feel that it’s really bad, no screenings at all are held, in the hopes that most bad reviews won’t surface until after the film’s Friday release.
So when it was
announced that word-of-mouth and media screenings for “No Good Deed” would be
done together on Weds night, just two days ago, before the film’s release today, it was a sure
sign that the studio had little confidence in the film.
Oh well. No
biggie. Nothing to get upset about. It happens all the time
But, in a strange
move, which I can’t recall ever happening before, at the last minute, the studio
announced that it had changed its mind, and that it was canceling all screenings for the film
everywhere, before its release in theaters today.
was this move that, a few days later, Sony/Screen Gems felt that some kind
of explanation was due; and, according to an official press statement from them
issued by PR firms, it wasn’t because they feel that the film is unwatchable, but because: “Screen Gems has
decided to cancel the advance screening of NO GOOD DEED which was to take place
tonight Wednesday September at […]. There is a plot twist
in the film that the studio does not want to reveal, as it will affect the audience’s
experience when they see the film in theaters. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
This is the first time in history that a press screening for a movie was cancelled because of
a plot twist so important, so incredibly shocking and mind blowing, that it just
couldn’t be revealed to anyone, ahead of time; A plot twist,
that one film critic friend of mine, Peter Sobczynski (for his RogerEbert.com one
star review of “Deed”), who caught the first screening of the film today said, “is so
absurd, so arbitrary, and has so little effect on the proceedings that it feels
like the kind of thing that Tyler Perry might have scratched for being too
And, likely, when other reviews for the movie are published, they probably won’t be that great either (another one
called “Deed” a “sadistic mess”). But it seems that the real reason why Screen Gems
decided to put a sudden halt to all advance screenings of the film wasn’t because of this
so called, devastating plot twist in the film. Instead, it
turns out that there’s a pivotal scene, seen in flashbacks throughout the film,
which eerily plays out, but in an even more extreme way, very much like a
recent much discussed incident involving a certain former NFL player and his
No doubt, as
a result, the studio, fearing the negative reaction that the film would get from
preview audiences, decided to pull all the Wednesday press and promo screenings of the film. It seems
obvious that this is what they were probably really scared of than any supposedly plot
twist being leaked.
In other words, a case of an ugly scene, and some very bad timing.