If you're looking for a review of "Boogeyman" in your newspaper this morning, you're not going to find one -- in any newspaper anywhere. Opening in theaters nationwide today, the movie has been kept hidden from critics because, to be blunt, the studios think it's garbage and want to rake in as much money as they can before word gets out.
Of course, nobody will admit to this at Screen Gems, which is releasing "Boogeyman." But it's no coincidence that every movie Hollywood doesn't screen in advance -- either by not holding previews until the night before opening or not holding them at all -- is largely lambasted once critics and audiences have caught up with it.
Every year in late January/early February, and again in late August/early September, studios traditionally dump their worst offerings onto the market, hoping the lack of new big-draw blockbusters will translate into profits for any new movie with heavy TV advertising -- which is why you probably haven't been able to escape "Boogeyman" ads in the last two weeks.
In 2004 for example, nine movies were released without screenings (which may be a record), including "Alien vs. Predator," "Exorcist: The Beginning" and "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" in August alone, and "The Cookout" and "Paparazzi" one week later.
And with the strategy working better than ever -- the five aforementioned titles took in more than $180 million collectively despite huge drop-offs in ticket sales after bad word of mouth -- Hollywood hucksters will likely be encouraged to continue cranking out crappy movies and hiding them from critics, counting on suckers to make them rich.
Whether you give a hoot what critics have to say or not, you should regard the lack of Friday morning reviews to be a huge red flag when considering shelling out $8 to $10 for the latest heavily-hyped wannabe blockbuster. Because when that happens, it's not some cinema snob with a newspaper byline telling you the movie is rubbish -- it's the people who made the movie admitting to it themselves and just hoping you're not smart enough to listen.
Run time: 89 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th February 2005
Box Office USA: $46.4M
Distributed by: Screen Gems
Production compaines: Pacific Renaissance Pictures Ltd., Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures, Senator International
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 76
IMDB: 4.1 / 10
Director: Stephen T. Kay
Starring: Emily Deschanel as Kate Houghton, Barry Watson as Tim, Skye McCole Bartusiak as Franny Roberts, Lucy Lawless as Tim's Mother, Tory Mussett as Jessica, Olivia Tennet as Terrified Girl, Aaron Murphy as Young Tim, Andrew Glover as Boogeyman, Scott Wills as Co-Worker, Robyn Malcolm as Dr. Matheson
Also starring: Charles Mesure