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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

doh! ‘Simpsons Movie’ won’t screen till mere hours before it opens

Word came down today from 20th Century Fox: press screenings of The Simpsons Movie will be on Thursday, July 26… the night before the film opens. And by “the night before,” I mean that the very multiplex in which I will see the film on Thursday evening will open the movie to public showings a few hours later, at 12:01am.
Rumors have been buzzing around the critical community here in NYC that the film simply isn’t finished yet, and that’s why it won’t screen any earlier, but I dunno… that’s a pretty standard excuse I’ve heard before from studios. Other rumors around the professional online watercooler suggest that only Internet critics are being kept from the film until the last minute, as Jeffrey Wells says at Hollywood Elsewhere, though he gets the no-guests thing wrong, as I was told I can bring a guest with me to the screening. This no-onliners thing is actually an even less promising explanation: We onliners are, presumably, far more representative of the audience Fox is courting for this film than are print critics. So why wouldn’t we be allowed to see the film until the night before it opens unless it isn’t very good?

Five new movies are opening wide next week, on the same day The Simpsons Movie opens. Three of them won’t screen for critics at all… and this one, the fourth, won’t screen for a large portion of the critical audience till just before it opens. I foresee a day when no films are screened for critics. What the hell good are we, anyway? All we do is bitch, bitch, bitch…

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