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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

more on Fox, Internet film critics, and fanboys

Twentieth Century Fox has not had the best relationship with critics lately, as I mentioned in the comments section of my post about The Simpsons Movie the other day. Now comes word that a boycott by critics and entertainment journalists against Fox’s movies is spreading, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Online critics expand boycott against Fox
Supporters nationwide join Chicago group in protesting its limited access to screenings.

Twentieth Century Fox is on the edge of an Internet publicity crisis.

It’s Day 10 of the Chicago Film Critics Assn. boycott on all Fox and Fox Searchlight films, a protest against the studio’s practice of limiting online critics’ access to screenings.

Now critics all over the country are coming forward to echo their complaints and promise solidarity, revealing a simmering hostility between studios and many online journalists.

Critics in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Texas, and several cities in Florida answered Chicago’s call for support. And, like Chicago critics, some have promised to cancel publicity interviews for the Fox Searchlight film “Sunshine,” opening nationwide July 27.

Good point from this critic:

The studio “is dividing people into print, broadcast and online media, and at this point, we’re all online critics,” said Gire, film critic at the Chicago Daily Herald. “The moment I generate something for print, before the ink has dried — boom! — it’s on the Internet. The distinction has evaporated and [Fox is] clinging to this old model of business.”

And there’s this:

Reporters of every stripe are fed up with the studio for holding fewer and later media screenings, particularly for its more populist fare such as “Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer.” All media screenings — which often take place weeks before a film’s release — of “The Simpsons Movie” were to be held just days before its July 27 release. Some critics complain that the late access impairs the quality of their reviews.

That’s certainly true: I hate having to run right home from a screening and write my review instantly. It’s far better to have a few days to let my reaction to a movie simmer before writing. The movie gods know that most film criticism is awful enough to start with, and this doesn’t help.

But that’s not the latest weirdness/outrage from Fox. The studio has yanked its films from the highly influential San Diego Comic-Con, mere days before the convention opens:

Twentieth Century Fox on Wednesday suddenly pulled several highly touted films from next week’s Comic-Con in San Diego, saying that “the material wasn’t ready.” The films included director Doug Liman’s Jumper, starring Hayden Christensen; the sequel Aliens vs. Predator, directed by Colin and Greg Strause; Babylon A.D., starring Vin Diesel; and Hitman, starring Timothy Olyphant. The studio’s action miffed organizers of the high-profile convention. David Glanzer, a spokesman for Comic-Con, told the Los Angeles Times: “Every major studio usually has a presence at Comic-Con so for Fox to pull out a week before is very unusual.” One blogger observed on the Times’ website: “Something smells a little fishy. I could see one film not being ready, but all?”

CHUD has one possible alternative explanation:

What I’ve been told is that after last year’s Borat presentation, which had that scene of Borat and friend fighting in the nude, relations between San Diego Comic Con and Fox were strained. Says one of my scoopers:

They told Fox that there was absolutely to be no R rated materials during the presentations. The trouble with that is that all of the film’s on Fox’s slate are R rated, with Aliens Vs. Predator finishing up a red band trailer.

Seems like that’s hardly a last-minute issue either, if it started last year.

If Fox isn’t confident enough to be letting critics or fans see their product, why don’t they just start making better movies? Seems pretty obvious…

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