Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Sony, Rudin Fight Back Against The New Yorker for Breaking The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Review Embargo

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 4, 2011 at 8:36PM

Scott Rudin is pissed. And so is Sony. They feel strongly that the New York Film Critics Circle made a deal with them to honor a worldwide December 13 review embargo on David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which opens December 21. The studio and the filmmakers went out of their way to screen the movie for the NYFCC on November 28; the critics delayed their voting by one day in order to see the film. Every member agreed in writing to honor the embargo. During their vote, the critics did not give the film any awards. But critic David Denby (who fought against moving the voting earlier this year) went ahead and filed a review for The New Yorker for the issue that hits the stands on Monday, December 5, a week ahead of the embargo deadline.
11
Scott Rudin
Scott Rudin

Scott Rudin is pissed. And so is Sony. They feel strongly that the New York Film Critics Circle made a deal with them to honor a worldwide December 13 review embargo on David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which opens December 21. The studio and the filmmakers went out of their way to screen the movie for the NYFCC on November 28; the critics delayed their voting by one day in order to see the film. Every member agreed in writing to honor the embargo. During their vote, the critics did not give the film any awards. But critic David Denby (who fought against moving the voting earlier this year) went ahead and filed a review for The New Yorker for the issue that hits the stands on Monday, December 5, a week ahead of the embargo deadline.

The studio sent an email plea to media to stick to the embargo. Sony is concerned that reviews will now break too early, and won't post closer to the release date. Please. If they had put the film in a festival like London or AFI Fest, one tier of reviews would run followed by a mass of features and pieces close to opening, including all the TV critics and major dailies. This is really a control issue. Rudin feels royally screwed, and who can blame him?

In an email exchange with Rudin, Denby, the New Yorker critic--who shares film review chores with Anthony Lane--admitted that he was breaking the embargo, and simply wanted to file a major review of an important film this week, ahead of the holiday glut of adult films. The New Yorker did not choose, for example, to piss off Disney, DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg with an early "War Horse" review, even though it screened for the public via selected sneak previews, opting instead for Spielberg's other movie, the globally reviewed "The Adventures of Tintin."

Sometimes studios will make deals with a major newsweekly in hopes of a cover or positive treatment (see Time's series of "Star Wars" first looks, their "Titanic" cover story or Spielberg on "Munich"); if a real review is involved, then the trades and other embargoed outlets will run their reviews. DreamWorks was upset with Newsweek when it broke an embargo on another Spielberg movie with an early cover, "Saving Private Ryan," with a review/essay inside, illustrated with photos acquired from an outside source.

Embargos have been broken with hot ticket movies such as Chris Nolan's  "Inception," which was reviewed in late June ahead of an early July embargo by Rolling Stone's Peter Travers. Last fall New York Film festival selection committee member Scott Foundas ran a review of "The Social Network" ahead of other critics who had not yet screened the film, also produced by Rudin. But it was a rave and Rudin and Sony let it pass.

Rudin, who is trying to put the cap back on this review bottle, insists that all the critics who have seen "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" have agreed to continue to hold to the embargo. (I got a call; as always, I'll review when the trades do.)

In my informal polling, while I detect outrage that Denby broke his word and behaved self-servingly, "jumping ahead in line," as Sasha Stone puts it, folks are waiting to see what everyone else does. The New Yorker was on newstands at 9 AM Sunday morning, but so far no other reviews have run (it's online for subscribers only, but here's a link.)

As the NY Post's Lou Lumenick reported, it starts off, "You can't take your eyes off Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander," and ends up, "This is a bleak but mesmerizing piece of filmmaking; it offers a glancing, chilled view of a world in which brief moments of loyalty flicker between repeated acts of betrayal.''

Will everyone else play ball? And will Sony impose some kind of punishment on The New Yorker? A spokesman would not comment on their interactions with the magazine. Something with teeth? The Wrath of Rudin is certainly a real threat: he tells Denby that he won't screen his films for him anymore:"I could not in good conscience invite you to see another movie of mine again, Daldry or otherwise."

This article is related to: Reviews, Girl with Dragon Tattoo


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.