I have never attended a major movie premiere, so for those of you at SDMB who keep an eye on this type of stuff, I have this question. So let’s say that a movie premiere gets caught up in all the hype. The night of the premiere, the cast, writers, producer and director enter majestically surrounded by the press; magic is in the air…And THEN…the movie BOMBS BIG TIME! The “hilarious comedy” gets few if any laughs; the mystery is easily figured out; the suspense drama is boring; you get the picture. SO…what happens next at the premiere when it’s obvious that the audience did not enjoy the film? Do the cast members, the director, the writers and producers bury their faces in shame and quietly try to sneak away? How about when the press has to ask all those friends and associates of the people connected with the POS what they thought of the movie? It’s obvious that the film was not well=received by the audience, but it’s also obvious that nobody wants to embarrass themselves or their cohorts by slamming the film. What do they do?
Aren’t most (maybe all) movies of any size test marketed these days? There are secret screenings around LA where the moviemakers study the audience reaction, and can even tighten scenes which don’t work.
I’m sure the moviemakers might fool themselves into thinking there is hope, but more likely they know deep down it is a bomb. Just look at the movies not released to critics for review before opening.
Plays, despite previews are something else. I’m thinking Moose Murders here of course, the play that ran only one performance and was apparently seen by 50,000 New Yorkers.
@Voyager: I’m not familiar with “Moose Murders” and how awful it might have been. So did that have an over the top premiere on Broadway? Did people walk out early? Was the audience obviously disappointed? Did the actors and director get interviewed immediately after the curtain fell?
Random thoughts -
No, they don’t bury their faces in shame, they keep a positive outward demeanor.
Hollywood is famous for their kissy-face behavior. In public at least, one doesn’t usually trash talk a movie - you might want to work with the people involved at some point. Instead you talk about all the hard work that went into it, overcoming the struggles of getting it made, how nice it is to see so-and-so in the role or so-and-so getting the chance to direct, etc. Certain phrases are understood to be dog-whistles indicating your true reactions…
Sometimes everyone knows the movie isn’t intended to be an Oscar contender, just a chance to make more at the box office and ancillary markets than was spent producing it.
After all, the movie might look like a dog but it still might make $$$$ for everyone!
There was an action movie that came out last summer? two summers ago? that bombed. I can’t remember the title but it had a Russian model-actress as a co-star. TLo was blogging photos of the red carpet of its premieres around the world. The male actor became progressively more glum at each outing as the bad reviews poured in, but that actress, this was her turn to shiiiiine, and she really grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
I went to a premiere of Sahara – not the big Hollywood premiere, but Matthewl McConaughey came to Baltimore to premiere it. I got in free, but it wasn’t worth the price. Most of the folks there were happy to meet McConaughey and enjoyed the night out. I don’t think anyone actually told him what a piece of crap the movie was.
I thought it was a pretty good flick. Very underrated IMHO. Steve Zahn was hilarious in it.
I know this wasn’t a major movie, but they guy who made Manos: The Hands of Fate had a premiere. He even got a limo to bring in the cast.
They all looked on in shock and disappointment once the movie began.
Other than critics, who save their opinions for after the show, most of the people at a premiere are there to enjoy the premiere, not the movie. So if the movie is bad, it doesn’t matter.
General politeness explains the rest – most people don’t say “It sucks” to the face of those who invited them. In general, though, the creators know the movie is bad, but pretend otherwise in order to promote it.
I thought that cast members did not usually stick around for the screenings at premiers.
So, sort of the movie equivalent of weasel-worded references such as “In my opinion, you will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you” or “I recommend this man with no qualifications whatsoever”.
I thought it was a good movie too. It was just a classic example of a movie that wasn’t bad, but the production costs were just too high. It opened at #1 in the box office. There was immediately bad press about the movie because Clive Cussler bitched and moaned that he wasn’t consulted (probably a good thing, or Dirk would have had to have been a rapist). Matthew McConaughey still tried to promote the movie on his own apparently hoping to turn it into a franchise form himself. It wasn’t to be though.
That has not been my experience.
You are painting it as very negative. Really, the entertainment industry is a small town. Jobs only last for a while. You may want a job from this person, or you may want to hire that person. For the most part, everyone is very positive in their personal interactions. Sure, a lot of it is fake, but that is what they DO - they make the fake! I mean, you might think that much of the current comedy universe (Apatow, Rogan, Farrell, Sandler) puts out crap on a regular basis - but they are constantly working! If you were a young funny person, who wouldn’t want to get lined up with those guys? So, how do you respond to them? I LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!
I used to be in the industry and yes, you keep your mouth shut and be positive. Although, it’s rare that a horrible movie is going to have a big premier. (lots of stars, not just the ones from the movie, and in NYC or LA or other world Capital)
I’ve also worked in movie theaters in NYC and I saw a few big and lots of ‘little’ premiers.
I was invited to the NYC Premier of Ishtar The movie bombed, but I can attest to the fact that all the invited guests to the premier LOVED IT. Everyone laughed all the way through. I’m not sure how much was “fake.” I liked the movie fine that night. Being in a room sprinkled with movie stars makes it a memorable event and everyone is excited and in a good mood.
I assume most of the other terrible movies out there have similar stories.
Agreed. Any movie today which is going to have a big gala premiere will almost undoubtedly have been shown to test audiences, and likely will have been tinkered with if the test showings went poorly. I can’t see a director or producer being caught flat-footed by a bad audience reaction at the premiere, unless they’re truly in denial.
I always liked what Roger Ebert said about Rob Schneider in ending their feud:
I think face to face with the people involved in creating a movie, you have to approach them with the attitude that they were trying to do good work, even if it didn’t turn out that way.
I wasn’t there, alas, but from reading the tons of stuff written about it, it appears to have had the reaction that Springtime for Hitler was supposed to have. If actors and directors of Broadway productions get interviewed at the opening, they don’t show up in the Times. It closed after one performance, so I think they all knew what was going on. Of course the actors are up on stage, not watching,
I’ve only been to one premiere, far from Hollywood, of a movie a kid we “discovered” - that is hooked up with my daughter’s manager. It was in Pennsylvania. It was okay, but in that kind of environment the critical judgment of the audience was not very engaged.
I’ve wondered how actors who perform graphic/nude sex scenes react when those scenes are playing at a premiere. Or if the audience behaves themselves without doing catcalls.