Sony’s decision to forgo screening The Emoji Movie in about 98% of markets is the start of a disturbing trend. Film companies are starting to shy away from allowing critics opportunities to pre-screen material before it is released to the public. While some might feel that this is long overdue, others see it as disturbing a process that has been in place for centuries.
For centuries, artists have been creating works of art (whether visually or through the spoken word) and have been subject to criticism from the general public. Do you think Michelangelo’s David was received warmly by all of the public as a whole? Were the first plays ever performed at The Globe considered masterpieces? Society has been judging art for centuries.
However, we now live in this era of Rotten Tomatoes, and this perception has been created that critics are the enemy. Up until DC’s release of Wonder Woman, the common excuse that most fan boys would throw towards critics was we were all on Disney’s payroll. Never mind the quality of Suicide Squad and or Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, it’s obvious that critics have a deep seeded hatred for anything that comes out the DC Cinematic Universe (give me a break!).
The reason why studios won’t screen these movies is not for your benefit, or because critics are these big bad people, it’s because they are hoping to trick the public. Major studios realize what type of product they have well before films are screened. These films are combed over frame by frame as the studios plan their marketing strategies for each release. Why else would critics be allowed to see War For The Planet Of The Apes a month before the general public did? Was it because they thought we were special? No, they knew the film was a hit and wanted the word to get out.
Some might make the argument that critics infringe upon an artist’s vision. Criticism doesn’t impede anyone from fully realizing their vision; it’s merely a dialogue about the person’s work. Remember, for every person who is not a fan of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice there is someone who enjoyed the movie.
So let’s stop accusing people unjustly and place the blame where it needs to be. Critics have never been the enemy, it’s the studios who have decided it’s more important to make a few bucks rather than make something worth while. How many more reboots, rehashing of old ideas, or crap ideas need to become movies for everyone to finally realize that? Start holding these studios to a higher standard and then maybe they won’t be so pensive about allowing people to see their work before it’s released.