WotW reviews embargoed - is this an issue with US critics?

According to this Spiegel Online article (Geman language) journalists who want to attend a press screening of War of the Worlds must sign an agreement to not publish their review before the official start date of 29 June. According to the article German industry associations are diplomatically critical of this policy (which was set by UIP on request by Paramount and Spielberg, apparently), and journalists more outspokenly so.

Have US journalists expressed concern about this embargo? Or is it non-controversial?

Not completely an answer, but usually when it happens, it means the movie stinks and the studio knows it. They’re hoping to snag enough sales before word-of-mouth leaks out on the film. With this being a Spielberg film, I’m not sure what it means.

It means Spielberg made a stinker. We’re all human, we each have failures – even Spielberg and Cruise. I have heard zero good buzz about this movie, and Tom Cruise’s desperate behavior in pursuit of any publicity seems forced.

Because I haven’t seen it, I am free from their silly reviewers’ rules. I can therefore say that it stinks on ice. :wink:

Are film reviews in the U.S. not embargoed? I was sure they were.


Oog. Seemed a bad book to try and make a movie of at this late date–but one always hoped.

Well, here’s to hoping that it’s actually just a matter that they dramatically rewrote the ending so it isn’t death by virus, and they don’t want anyone to know that they’re in for a (good) surprise.

It’s when they don’t show the film to critics at all, or so close to release that it’s difficult for them to make their deadlines, that they know it stinks. Embargoed reviews are relatively common.

The Spiegel Online article also mentioned that the press screenings were an unusually short time before the start date.

Apparently embargoed reviews are more common in the US than they are in the US, then - judging from the comments cited by the article it’s something of a first, and journalists feel it’s the thin end of the wedge WRT media producers seeking to control reporting.

Probably it hasn’t been an issue in Germany before because a review embargo had not coincided with simultaneuous worldwide release of a movie - there would have been no point in embargoing German reviews when the cat had already been out of the bag in the US.

sorry - … more common in the US than they are in Germany …

These press screenings are not inordinatly close to the release date. It’s over a week away. Is the German press so slow that they need more than a week to write a review?

This is a very common practice in the business. What it means is the studio doesn’t want the magazines to make money off the movie by having the first review. (See Time Magazine and Titanic) So they set the date of the review to be opening day. This movie, BTW is what is referred to as review proof. Even if you had bad reviews from critics it would still open very well.
Oh and I work for the one of the studios that made the picture and I work in marketing/publicity. (so I know what I’m talking about but take what I say with a graine of salt as I may be secretly trying to sell the movie)

It does look as if they’re trying to avoid publicity with the movie itself, preferring to generate buzz from the star himself. I guess the Scientologists learned from their mistakes with Battlefield Earth: put as many butts in seats as you can before the critics tear it apart.

Perhaps the critics could use “those methods”, you know, the ones the industry rails against, to write their reviews as soon as humanly possible. Not that I’d encourage anything illegal mind you… :wink:

Yep, I’m going to have to agree with the esteemed posters above me- this is a sure sign that the movie stinks on ice.

That’s a damned shame. Well… maybe the special effects’ll be good. Here’s hoping.

According to rumors, the ILM Special FX are not a good quality. In a scene where an alien craft attacks a cruise liner, people who’ve seen it claim it’s even less visually believable than Independence Day.

Whoa! We’re not using spoiler boxes anymore?

Of course, finished prints typically have better FX, at least if they’re CGI, because the time between pressing the screener and pressing the final print gives the computer additional time to render.


I heard Xenu breaks free of the eternal battery and attacks earth to finish the job he started. I guess being buried under a volcano for 75 million years could give you some bad dry mouth.

General comment on spoilers:
I added spoilers to Sage Rat’s post, where he reveals the ending of the H.G. Wells’ novel. I agree, it’s difficult to know what to do about classics – after all, the work has been around for a hundred years, and has been done in radio, TV, and movies, and has even been parodied (in that horrible INDEPENDENCE DAY flick)…

I notice that the write-ups and interviews and what-not that I’ve seen so far have studiously avoided asking the question, presumably not to spoil the ending of the new movie. (Note that, even if the new movie doesn’t use Wells’ ending, that revelation would still spoil the surprise for anyone expecting Wells’ ending!)

So, it’s hard to know how to deal with spoilers on classics. My first thought was that every educated person reading the boards will know the Wells’ ending, so when I saw it earlier today, I left it alone. However, it’s been reported, and my second thought is that there’s a new “version” coming out, and many members will see the new movie without having seen the old movie or read the book, so we should use spoiler boxes.

No fault here, just trying to sort through a complicated set of circumstances. On the one hand, we don’t want to spoil plots for people who don’t want their plots spoiled; on the other hand, we need to have a discussion about literature/drama/movies etc without having everything boxed.


There isn’t a cruise liner in the movie. There is a ferry boat but no cruise liner.

The embargo has no relationship on the quality of the film. It’s standard industry practice, as Zebra said.

Usually, one or two media outlets (I believe it might be Newsweek for WotW) will get an “exclusive” to review the film early if they also promise some promotional space on the film as well, like an extended interview with the star or director. Reporters who break the embargo will often be blacklisted from future press screenings by the studio or distribution company, so everyone tows the line (though often you’ll get industry columnists like Jeff Wells and Dave Poland will coyly drop hints one way or the other ahead of time.

People often mention this in those “I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DO THIS!” threads but I’ve never seen it until now. :smiley:

I think the film will be a sapfest, but it is rather silly to believe the studio is fearful it will stink. It is review proof after all and the reviewers were nice to Revenge of the Sith, of all movies. Having said that, I believe Spielberg is trying to keep all the secrets intact, judging from a lengthy article in Wired. It seems obvious that the tripod’s design is so “f—in’ awesome” (a term Dennis Muren would enjoy, it seems) that nobody wants to spoil it beyond saying it has three “limbs”. If critics like the film, or at least the look of it, they would probably go into details Spielberg and crew are wanting to save for scares.