With fewer than 12 hours to go until it was to be shown to the press Wednesday night, Screen Gems this morning canceled all advance screenings of "No Good Deed," the home-invasion thriller starring Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba, allegedly to preserve the film's surprise plot twist.
I haven't seen "No Good Deed" — no one has — but a colleague who did interviews for the film without being allowed to see it first had the plot described to him by Idris Elba, and the "twist" is exactly what I thought it would be, having seen only the trailer. So the inevitable conclusion is that Screen Gems is not protecting audiences from last-act spoilers — which no critic would divulge in the first place — so much as they're protecting the movie from what seems likely to be a barrage of withering reviews. That's certainly what critics are thinking, based on their reactions to the announcement:
NO GOOD DEED critics screening in NYC cancelled, allegedly to preserve a "plot twist.'' What a crock.
— Lou Lumenick (@LouLumenick) September 10, 2014
"We're not screening this because we're worried critics will spoil the big twist!" is one of my favorite studio lies. #NoGoodDeed
— Eric D. Snider (@EricDSnider) September 10, 2014
#NoGoodDeed goes unscreened.
— Christy Lemire (@christylemire) September 10, 2014
"Today, we're canceling the Apocalypse!" - Idris Elba, announcing the cancelation of NO GOOD DEED's press screening.
— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) September 10, 2014
There's not actually a twist in #NoGoodDeed, but the last reel is Idris Elba watching WIRE reruns and weeping
— Jason Bailey (@jasondashbailey) September 10, 2014
My favorite press screening cancellation excuse: "We want critics and audiences to discover [this ungodly piece of shit] together."
— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) September 10, 2014
Welp, the Canadian preview screenings of NO GOOD DEED have been cancelled too. Now I -really- want to see it.
— Norm Wilner (@normwilner) September 10, 2014
NO GOOD DEED Ending Odds: "They're the same person!"- 10:1 "He's Satan!"- 5:1 "He's the kid's dad!"- 3:1 "She's the real villain!"- 2:1
— Russell Hainline (@RussellHFilm) September 10, 2014