Girl w/Dragon Tattoo Producer Bans New Yorker Movie Critic over Review

the new yorker magazine screenshot 1 Girl w/Dragon Tattoo Producer Bans New Yorker Movie Critic over Review

When movie reviewers are as big and sought after as David Denby from The New Yorker is, movie studios will beg them to come and see advance screenings of their films. There usually is a stipulation, however, that they can’t review before a certain date.  This is called an embargo. (Seriously, like there’s an official sounding word for this). Well, David Denby was asked, apparently, not to review The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before December 13 but went ahead and published an early review of the film anyway!

This didn’t sit well with producer Scott Rudin who reportedly has a history of overreacting about his films.  According to Deadline, Rudin got pissed during awards season because The Social Network was losing out to The King’s Speech and refused to attend any ceremonies including the Oscars. Rudin writes to Denby, “You’ve very badly damaged the movie by doing this, and I could not in good conscience invite you to see another movie of mine again.” So what’s the big deal?

I read Denby’s review and I have to say, I have no idea what Rudin’s talking about.  The review wasn’t bad.  The critic starts out by saying “You can’t take your eyes off Rooney Mara as the notorious Lisbeth Salander” then goes on to describe the characters, making note that Daniel Craig seems to step back a bit and lets Mara shine. Then Denby says a little more about the story, no real spoilers, and finishes by giving a sort of nod to Fincher’s filmmaking and the way he refrains from exploiting material that’s “pulpy and sensational” at its core. “This is a bleak but mesmerizing piece of film making,” Denby writes.  “It offers a glancing, chilled view of a world in which brief moments of loyalty flicker between repeated acts of betrayal.”  That much anyone can gather just by watching the trailer.

Here is a portion of the letter Sony sent out in response:

“All who attended screenings of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo agreed in writing to withhold reviews until closer to the date of the film’s worldwide release date. Regrettably, one of your colleagues, David Denby of The New Yorker, has decided to break his agreement and will run his review on Monday, December 5th. This embargo violation is completely unacceptable.

By allowing critics to see films early, at different times, embargo dates level the playing field and enable reviews to run within the films’ primary release window, when audiences are most interested. As a matter of principle, the New Yorker’s breach violates a trust and undermines a system designed to help journalists do their job and serve their readers.”

So what’s going on here, exactly?  Is this some weird publicity stunt?  Or did Denby have a brain fart a la Rick Perry and forget about the embargo?  No way to tell.  But it does seem a little odd that The New Yorker went ahead and published the review. I’m sure someone there knew about the embargo. They also posted the review today online after being notified by both Rudin and Sony over the weekend that this was a breach of their gentleman’s agreement.

I guess the real question is, how relevant are movie critics these days? Do the majority of people still seek out their opinions as some sort of gauge whether they should see a film or not, particularly from stuffy rags like The New Yorker?  The past three weeks have shown this not to be the case as Twilight’s Breaking Dawn, which was absolutely trashed by critics, has been #1 at the box office and made over $500 million worldwide.

It seems like every step of Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo adaptation has been as overexposed as Rooney Mara’s front side on the poster. Seriously though, I don’t know how much more hype this film can take.  See David Denby’s full review here.

[Source: THR]


pixel Girl w/Dragon Tattoo Producer Bans New Yorker Movie Critic over Review

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