There were two films previewed last weekend that are not officially open in England yet. I’m increasingly annoyed by these sneaky manoeuvres on the part of the film companies…

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by jayfurneaux

    on 26 Jul 2014 08:19

    Aren’t films that first get shown on the festival circuit being ‘previewed’? Largely in the hope of building some critical buzz before they actually open months later.

    A preview should be just that. I remember going to a midnight screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark the weekend before it opened. It made the people that attended feel a bit special – we’d made the effort and could talk about it before others could.

    Playing in a few cinemas before it ‘officially’ opens is just milking the cash cow.

    Play them at their own game Mark, they’re showing a film to a paying audience – you publish your review. Simples.

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by Nick

    on 22 Jul 2014 11:08

    It's ironic that opening of TF4 took less than Mrs Browns Boy Da Movie. A fact that still makes me chuckle.

    That had a traditional opening, and even adding in the previous weekend, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (even with the EE Wed 2 for 1 offer) TF4 still only made a few million more (but breaking the figures all down (3D and IMAX added in) TF4 did far, far less.

    Which shows 1. Just how lucrative the opening weekend is (Friday-Sunday) and how by having countless preview days can and often does dilute the opening weekend.

    TF4 must have performed very quietly after the first preview days (Sat-Sunday) before the 'official' opening on Thursday 10th July.

    It is also ironic that Fox this week passed the $billion dollar mark first.

    They have many hit films, but no huge juggernaut like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Transformers: Age of Extinction (Puttup) - Sorry that's an old, a very old Transformers joke that UK lovers of TF from the 80's will recognize.

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by Bob

    on 19 Jul 2014 12:51

    Sorry, this is all rather silly. Remember those halcyon days when we only had good films, because that's all anyone went to see, based on the reviews, and so that's all the studios ever made? No, you don't because it never happened.

    People have been watching rubbish since cinema began, and they will continue to do so. They (yes, the majority audience) don't care about what critics say. Even I don't, really. Maybe I just have exceptional taste, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have chosen to or not to see a film based on the critics' (Mark's, as he's the only one I follow; he's on my radio for "free", and I'm used to him, even if he is wrong on Cloverfield and Jaws) witterings. I just decide whether a want to see a film. If I do, I go and see it. Sometimes, I don't like the film. That would still happen no matter when previews happened.

    Get a grip!

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by anniemouse

    on 13 Jul 2014 10:17

    If the companies make you sign a non disclosure agreement (Mayo has admitted signing these) your hands are tied.

    If it is an animation such as HTTYD then it is opening to fit school holidays. Review it its opened.

    If distributors are extending opening weekends and you have not signed anything, review it with the proviso of mentioning the official release date.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Agency Scum

    on 13 Jul 2014 08:32

    It's simple Mark, label your work " Preview Review " and state it's a review of a preview that seems to try and bypass the critics.

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by jcarr73729

    on 11 Jul 2014 07:19

    I have no idea what influence informed and insightful reviews have on opening week takings, but my gut opinion is that the majority of the 'opening-weekers' have planned this excursion well in advance of the reviews published by the traditional media outlets, and have already decided to attend because of video previews, love of the franchise, peer pressure, etc. We know there's a large core audience that attends the cinema regularly, as group social events, and that means they'll watch whatever is screening. The industry counts the takings, not the glum faces leaving the cinema.

    Mark - Unless you, or your employers, are willing to pay-up for you to travel and attend the first screening, then you will have to bite you lip and make do with the press screening.

    I'm not sure who compiles the weekly charts for the cinema takings, but it's clear that extended opening weekends and preview screenings away from the metropolis are industry attempts to bend the rules. In all the discussions I've heard about this each Friday afternoon, I don't believe I've heard any proposal to close these loopholes in the rules.

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by Trevor

    on 10 Jul 2014 20:59

    Technically, isn't a 'preview' supposed to be a short excerpt of something prior to it's proper release? If it's the full movie then it's not a 'preview', it's the opening day.
    Go review the film when the public can see it, and set a trend. Then maybe they'll stop doing it.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by Brian - New Forest

    on 10 Jul 2014 00:14

    Unless you can make the possibly slim argument that this business practice is doing harm to the quality of films, then I'm not sure I care. It's frustrating for you, but as long as you are gainfully employed in this situation, it's merely another downside to your job. You may have to suffer through 4 "they just might turn out to be Citizen Kane, I've an open mind" Transformers films before you give up and enjoy a reissue of Citizen "maybe all the critics are all wrong about it, it's just a sledge you know" Kane, but for many people work consists of nothing but a continually soul destroying experience that leads them to spend out on Michael Bay films for a bit of light relief.

    If you want to hear an equally pathetic bit of frustration, I, as an ordinary filmgoer hate that BAFTA rules allow the nomination of films that are not only released after the main year in question, but films released up to the Friday of the weekend that the awards ceremony takes place. This means the BAFTAs are chosen from films that in some cases the ordinary viewing public may not have seen, and all this is done in a cynical ploy to use the BAFTA's to help market the primary release of those films so nominated, and to allow the BAFTA's to seem relevant between the GGlobes and the Oscars by including films that may have had earlier Stateside release dates. As a BAFTA member you could object to this state of affairs, rather than fume over something with which you have less control.

    ...That's what I thought.

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by Nick

    on 9 Jul 2014 19:15

    Well How to Train Your Dragon 2 had 3 weekends of previews and I believe opens tomorrow (10th July) and has opened a week ago in Scotland.

    Transformers Age of Extinction rather shamelessly has had previews from Saturday 5 July to Thursday 10th of July before opening Friday 11 July.

    All to shore up the all important opening weekend.

    In both cases I think they're just doing it with that smash and grab nenratality of getting as much cash before the audiences realise just how average the films are.

    Although I do hold out hopes that HTTYD2 is good. I truly loved the first film, and I'm saddened that the 4 year gap between movies has hurt it a bit in the States box office wise.

    TF4 I just hope dies a quick death.

    Have you considered doing an article on the troubles of dealing with China Mark?

    With the troubles that Paramount are facing from China and the grief Marvel and Disney suffered with Iron Man 3 makes for good reading. It seems that Hollywood studios are getting into bed with people who make Hollywood agents look like paragons of virtue.

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by Arch Stanton

    on 9 Jul 2014 14:46

    Off topic…

    Mark, we all know you are tight with Alan Jones OBE and Sir Kim Newman (we can dream), is there any inside word on what's going to be worth catching at this years Fright Feast, as this year, due to work commitments, I'm forced to play 'pick a day.'

    what are the chances of a quick blog?

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