Jupiter Ascending

If all had gone according to plan, we would have seen Andy and Lana Wachowski‘s Jupiter Ascending last summer. But Warner Bros. postponed the sci-fi epic at the last second, so this weekend’s Sundance secret screening was the very first public unveiling of the movie.

While Jupiter Ascending reviews won’t be out for another few days, reports from the event offer some hints about what we’re in for when the film opens next month. And they are… not good. Get the Jupiter Ascending early buzz after the jump. 

Variety reported from the invitation-only Jupiter Ascending Sundance screening, which they stress “was not billed as a premiere.” Critics were not invited, and the ones who managed to get in anyway were told to hold their reviews until February 2.

Not the most promising start, but you’d still think the first-ever showing of a movie by two big-name directors would have no trouble filling up a 300-person theater. You would be wrong.

And that’s before attendees started walking out in the middle of the movie. Nor did the audience seem all that thrilled when it was all over — there was no applause. Maybe that’s less surprising when you hear the reactions.

One anonymous festival volunteer felt very strongly about the film: “I hated it. It’s just ridiculous.”

Her also anonymous husband was a bit more lukewarm: “It’s a combination of a whole bunch of things wrapped into one.”

Screenwriter Neville Kiser was the nicest:

I actually liked it. But the Sundance context is weird. There were so many people in the audience scoffing and sneering. They are forgetting they are watching a movie targeted primarily to teenage boys. I’m sure those 15-year-old boys, and hopefully girls, will like it.

We haven’t seen the film, so we have no idea if Kiser is right about the 15-year-old boys and girls. But he’s definitely right about the “weird” setting.

It makes so little sense to unveil (not premiere, Warner Bros. is careful to emphasize) a big-budget spectacle at an event geared toward indie film lovers. Especially when said big-budget spectacle is already rumored to be a flop, thanks to its bonkers plot, even crazier trailer, that lengthy delay, the February release date, and the very spotty track record of its directors.

Unless, that is, this is all part of some nutty strategy by Warner Bros. to build bad buzz so that the actual Jupiter Ascending reviews have nowhere to go but up. That would be utterly bizarre, but still not more bizarre than a romance between a human cleaning lady / secret Queen of the Universe and an outer space wolf-man warrior. (And I say this as someone who likes the Wachowskis, still hopes Jupiter Ascending will be good.)

Anyway, Jupiter Ascending opens February 6, 2015Channing TatumMila KunisEddie Redmayne, and Sean Bean star.

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