Oh how Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wished we were in the time of Dr. Jones, when news traveled slow and secrets remained hidden for centuries. Unfortunately in the day and age of the internet, no secret is safe, no film unreviewed, no spoilers unleaked. And so it is no surprise that early word of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has disseminated onto the internet through various spies, mostly channeled through the leaky information faucet that is Ain’t It Cool News.
Spielberg would have liked to have kept the film safe from prying eyes until it opened at Cannes on May 18th, after which it would begin early screenings for critics before assuredly dominating the box office upon its release on May 22.
It comes as some surprise, or perhaps none at all to some, that the earliest leaked review told of the newest arc of the story as one to be “dreaded.” Following that, a few less harsh, but still veering towards the negative, reviews popped up as well. The initial revealer, coined “ShogunMaster” said that he was a theater worker who was shown the print early. There are laws in American cinema that require the studios to project the films for theaters so that the operators can bid on the films after they’ve seen them. The point is to allow the theater owners to determine if they want to carry the film, how much they’d pay for the right, and on how many theater screens they’d like to project it. In modern day business practice, the bidding wars have long ended and many agreements already exist between the studios and the larger movie theater chains, but laws are laws, and the films must be exhibited. And while ShogunMaster may, for the moment, be anonymous, he is surely on two short lists – one the list of those who have seen the film at such projections and two, the list of those people who will be blackballed once their names come out.
It’s hard to believe a few negative words on the internet could overcome the massive advertising campaign. If you don’t know what’s happening on May 22nd, the landing date for Indy, punt Wilson off a cliff, build yourself a raft and sail it back to civilization my friend. Indiana Jones films have always enjoyed monetary success and a fair to amazing amount of praise. Temple of Doom is almost universally regarded as the worst of the three (and now four) with good reason, but it still was one of the most popular and successful movies during its year of release. I can’t imagine Kingdom of the Crystal Skull falling short of that.
So while the internet is mildly tossing around a pair of mediocre reviews and one negative review, the excitement still builds. The whips still crack. If crazed voodoo priests, Nazis, and giant boulders can’t stop Indiana, do you really think a theater worker with an internet connection can? Come May 22nd (or hopefully earlier, Paramount, hint hint) I know where I’ll be – sitting mid-center watching Indy smirk and bullwhip his way across the biggest damn screen I can find.
Source: The NY Times