"Not Screened For Press" Trend Growing in 2006

by | April 4, 2006 | Comments

AP writer and film critic David Germain calls attention to the disturbing (at least, to us at Rotten Tomatoes) trend among studios to withhold films from the media in order to avoid negative reviews and make more money on opening day.

In his article, Germain points out that the number of movies not screened for press is way up — eleven so far this year, compared to only two this time last year — including this week’s comedies "The Benchwarmers" and "Phat Girlz."

Anyone who reads our own Tim Ryan’s weekly Critical Consensus has probably noticed the phrase "not screened for critics" popping up nearly every week, leading to a dearth of preview reviews that has spawned our ever-popular "Guess The Tomatometer" game. And though this game is delicious fun, it is a shame that more and more critics are being robbed of press screenings — which means that the moviegoing public doesn’t have that critical barometer to guide them in their film selection.

Not surprisingly, Germain couldn’t get a response from many studio heads on the issue, but did talk to film critics extraordinaire Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, who added a "wagging finger of shame" to their "thumbs up, thumbs down" signature ratings but eventually got tired of it from overuse. They argue that negative reviews rarely have adverse effects on box office numbers for the types of movies typically not screened for critics — broad comedies and horror flicks — and actually generate more buzz for a movie.

To read more of Germain’s article, click here.

"The Benchwarmers": How could they not screen this??

"Phat Girlz": Who wouldn’t sneak a taste of this guacamole?

So now that we know "The Benchwarmers" and "Phat Girlz" won’t be screened for critics, may the "Guess The Tomatometers" commence!

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