By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 4, 2011 at 12:29PM
Sony is trying to contain critics who are itching to review David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which has an official review embargo date of December 13 in advance of its December 21 release. Studios use reviews as marketing fodder, and figure if they screen a film in advance for press, they have the right to demand that the media hold off on tweets, posts and publishing until closer to release.
Hollywood Elsewhere blogged some speculation about Rooney Mara's place in the Best Actress race, but took it down when asked. The New Yorker, however, despite Sony's pleas, is going to press with David Denby's review.
What's the protocol from here? Historically, once an outlet publishes (whether at a festival, or in London, or in Rolling Stone, Time or Newsweek) the rest of the press follows. Hence I will predict that come December 5--despite the Sony email below--the media corps will proceed to post as well, embargo be damned. Why allow The New Yorker to get all that traffic? This movie is an eagerly anticipated franchise with an engaged, invested global fanbase on the order of "Twilight" or "Batman." No way that outlets and critics are going to sit on their hands. That tapping you hear is all the scribes who have seen "Tattoo" preparing their reviews to post the second Denby does. And that gnashing of teeth? All the folks who didn't go to Friday screenings thinking they had the luxury of an embargo date.
All who attended screenings of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo agreed in writing to withhold reviews until closer to the date of the film's worldwide release date. Regrettably, one of your colleagues, David Denby of The New Yorker, has decided to break his agreement and will run his review on Monday, December 5th. This embargo violation is completely unacceptable.
By allowing critics to see films early, at different times, embargo dates level the playing field and enable reviews to run within the films’ primary release window, when audiences are most interested. As a matter of principle, the New Yorker’s breach violates a trust and undermines a system designed to help journalists do their job and serve their readers. We have been speaking directly with The New Yorker about this matter and expect to take measures to ensure this kind of violation does not occur again.
In the meantime, we have every intention of maintaining the embargo in place and we want to remind you that reviews may not be published prior to December 13th.
We urge all who have been given the opportunity to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to honor the commitments agreed to as a condition of having early access to the film.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.