A couple days ago we featured a New York City subway billboard advertisement for M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening which had been defaced by a group of street critics. It looks like the critics have struck again! I know it’s basic toilet humor, and not even technically spelt right, but it made me laugh…
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For a couple weeks now it was rumored that 20th Century Fox had made the decision to not screen M Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening to press after a bad review leaked onto the internet last month. And as you probably know, when studios decide not to screen a movie for the press, it’s usually for good reason.
But as it turns out, Fox has decided to screen the movie for press after all. Studios usually hold WOM screenings (or Word of Mouth Screenings) for the popcorn movies before release. It is typical for movie critics to see the film at these type of screenings. I think the general thinking is that a theater packed with the exact target demographic usually leads to a better theater experience (ie a comedy audience laughs more at more jokes, a horror audience jumps more at scares…etc), which in turn might be likely to influence the invited press also in attendance.
Instead, my local screening of The Happening is being held in a small private screening room, which is very odd for this type of film. Also, I’m not allowed to even bring a guest (another change from standard operating procedure). And I’ve heard the same from friends in other territories, so it appears to be a direct order for Fox themselves. Clarification: The reason I mention this is not that I’m bitter that I can’t bring a guest… 95% of the time I don’t even exercise the option. If I were to read between the lines, I would say that Fox wants invited members of the press, and ONLY invited members of press to screen the film early. Not allowing press to bring a friend or family member means one potentially less negative review on the web the next day.
Even New York Post’s Lou Lumenick notes an unusual addendum to the invite which warns against blogging: “Please keep in mind that reviews cannot post (online blogs included) or run until opening day, June 13th.” Is M Night really afraid of blogs? Is that why no one other than invited press is allowed to screen the film?
It should be noted that even though we are technically a blog, we always hold our reviews of a film until opening day (unless otherwise approved by a national publicist). The note above that Lou mentions is not directed at sites like us, per say (as we follow embargo rules), it is directed at movie critics with personal blogs.
M. Night Shyamalan kept referring to himself as an outsider during a recent interview with the New York Times. Seems like the New Yorkers have a different name for him. The New York City street critics have begun to deface posters for The Happening. The above subway advertisement was found at the 6th. Ave. 14th street subway station.
Cinemaencena.com has 80 new photos from M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening, most of which are pretty uninteresting. I’ve included seven of the behind the scenes production photos after the jump.
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[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/happeningimprov.flv 460 260]
The Happening Improv Experiment
The Pitch: A flash mob/improv group (like ImprovEverywhere) organized a public re-enactment of a scene from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening to help promote the film.
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M. Night Shyamalan‘s new thriller The Happening is the director’s first rated-R film, and he wants you to know it. 20th Century Fox has released two new Red Band Movie trailers, which you can watch below thanks to JoBlo and IGN. We also have three new television spots which you can check out below that.
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DVDForum has a new International movie poster for M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening. One thing is for sure, the marketing team at Fox is doing a great job of making this film look cool, even if it might be a clunker.
The Happening hits theaters on Friday June 13th 2008.
Our friends at Collider have the first reader review of M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening and it’s not good at all:
“The Happening is a terrible, terrible movie. I mean, it’s bad on an epic scale. It’s so bad that I can’t possibly tell you how bad it is without understating the point or making it sound like I’m picking on the film. But let me stress: this is not pent-up Shyamalan aggression or a desire to see him fail. This is bad in a jaw-dropping “they can’t really be serious, can they?” kind of way. The closest comparison I can draw is to Neil LaBute’s “Wicker Man” and, like that film, the only consolation I can offer potential theater-goers is that you might want to see it just to be in on the ground floor when the film gets its ass handed back to it.”
It couldn’t really be that bad, could it? The reviewerÂ makes note of Wahlberg’s horrible performance (likely due to Shyamalan’s direction), pacing issues, and last act problems.
“If you’re dreading the Shyamalan trademark twist-ending, you can breathe a sigh of relief. There’s no twist whatsoever. But there’s also no ending. I won’t ruin it any further by talking about what’s not there, but prepare to feel very, very cheated and figure out in advance what consultation you can offer when the person next you confusedly asks, “Is that it?”"
The line-reading/questionable acting is really evident in this new 5-minute video clip which has been released by Fox. Watching the clip you’ll notice how M Night does a great job selling the concept of the film. He might even have you believe that the Collider review might be dead wrong. But then comes a 2+ minute clip from the film which displays the line delivery and pacing problems that are mentioned in the review. I really want The Happening to be a return to form, but this doesn’t bode well for the film’s pre-release hype.
[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/thehappening5min.flv 460 254]
Discuss: What do you think of the new video clip from The Happening?
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