Chicago Movie Critics To Boycott Fox

The Chicago Film Critics Association has announced a boycott of 20th Century Fox releases. They claim that the studio gives unequal access to screenings. But truth is Chicago is not the only region effected by Fox's short minded practices. It's a national problem.

I've had a lot of problems with Fox in the past and I'm happy to see that a group has gotten the guts to stand up to the man. Locally in San Francisco, Fox will only allow online press to the press/promo screening the night before a theatrical release.

For instance, I received a press invite today for The Simpsons Movie, at 7:30pm the night before it's nationwide release on next Thursday night. This is extremely unfair to online critics, especially considering the fact that the film starts screening at midnight on the east coast. That means that online critics won't even be home to start their reviews before the first group of ticket-buyers sit down to watch the trailers. This is not anything new. The same situation happened with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. I find it annoying that online critics would be given the shaft for a comic book movie when we have done so much to support the promotion of the film. When I asked if there was an earlier screening, I was told "Not for Online." And there have been other releases that Fox has refused to screen for online press altogether like The Hills Have Eyes II and Pathfinder.

Fox is paranoid that the online press will post their reviews early and has punished everyone involved with the medium. Fox should adopt a policy of allowing local publicists to ban certain online outlets for advance reviews. That seems like the right way to handle things. Heck, it's how most of the other studios handle the screenings locally. Most of the newspaper reviews appear online Monday-Wednesday before a Friday release. The least Fox could do is hold screenings earlier on in the week to allow online press some time to write a decent review.

Added Note: Fox Searchlight is wonderful. I've never heard anything bad about the way they handle critics.