Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

PARAMOUNT and FOX apply very different strategies for STAR TREK AND X- MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. WHY?

star-trek-new1It appears that Paramount is mighty proud of its upcoming re-boot of Star Trek, putting the film out for critics to see weeks before its May 8 release. Since the reviews are coming in as complete raves, it appears that the film will be a dominant force at the box-office as anticipation is building on a daily basis. It’s usually evident a studio knows it has a winner on its hands when they are happy for the major trades to post reviews weeks before the movie comes out. This has not been the case for Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine which I’ll get to in a minute. Star Trek reviews have been published in both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter this week with both calling the film an outstanding achievement and a sure fire box-office winner.

Warner Bros applied this same strategy with last summer’s The Dark Knight with glowing reviews being published almost a month before it hit theaters. When summer moviegoers start reading through the roof raves weeks in advance on highly anticipated movies the studio is almost always rewarded with huge box-office numbers. In the case of Chris Nolan’s second Batman film, test screenings had solidified the fact that audiences loved what they saw. The Dark Knight became a sure thing so the studio couldn’t wait to show it off. Paramount obviously has the same confidence in Star Trek, but that was pretty much a given when they held a surprise screening last month at the Alamo theater in Austin, Texas, arranged by Aint it Cool’s Harry Knowles. When immediate reaction was wolverine-postereuphoric the positive buzz marketing machine was in full force.

So what about Fox’s Wolverine? Well, advance screenings are scheduled over the next few days but the studio has an embargo on publishing reviews until 48 hours before the film is released. Is this a sign of confidence on the studio’s behalf? Of course not. While I’m not saying Wolverine is a bad film, it’s quite clear that the studio has researched audience reaction in preview test screenings and know that response is split at best. Since they don’t want those on the negative side out too soon, they put an embargo on early advance reviews to squash a swell of negative buzz. The illegal stolen online version hasn’t helped but I don’t really know to that effect it has hurt either with the publicity it garnered. It looks to me like it’s far from a great movie and studio confidence is shaky at best. With May almost here, let’s see how this all plays out but, at this point, it’s clear which film has the upper hand.

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April 24, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews |

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