girlwithdragontattoo Girl With the Dragon Tattoo New Yorker Review: Critic Breaks Embargo, Angers Studio (UPDATE)

From the files of you probably don’t care that much: venerable New Yorker film critic David Denby has written a review of ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ which will publish in the print edition of The New Yorker on Monday, a full eight days ahead of the embargo date on reviews set by Sony. Said Sony in an email to critics on early Sunday morning: “This embargo violation is completely unacceptable.”

Denby’s review won’t be online until Monday morning, but New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick has said it’s “positive to mixed” with special notice given to star Rooney Mara. “You can’t take your eyes off Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander,” Lumenick quotes Denby as writing.

The issue for Sony is now trying to control the remainder of critics who have seen ‘Dragon Tattoo’ already. Andre Caraco, the executive vice president of Sony Pictures publicity, wrote the aforementioned email to critics on Sunday morning and promised repercussions for not only the New Yorker, but any other critics who break the embargo.

“By allowing critics to see films early, at different times, embargo dates level the playing field and enable reviews to run within the films’ primary release window, when audiences are most interested. As a matter of principle, the New Yorker’s breach violates a trust and undermines a system designed to help journalists do their job and serve their readers. We have been speaking directly with The New Yorker about this matter and expect to take measures to ensure this kind of violation does not occur again,” Caraco wrote.

“In the meantime, we have every intention of maintaining the embargo in place and we want to remind you that reviews may not be published prior to December 13th.”

Lumenick, who along with Denby is part of the New York Film Critics Circle, wonders if Denby’s embargo-breaking review has anything to do with his displeasure over the NYFCC moving its awards voting up by two weeks this year.

“Denby saw the film on Nov. 28, the day before the New York Film Critics Circle voted on its annual awards,” wrote Lumenick. “Before the screening, Denby — supported by Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly — vehemently opposed the organization’s decision to vote on awards two weeks earlier than usual, and in several e-mails urged us to delay the vote until after we’d seen ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,’ a movie most of us haven’t even been invited to yet.

“Did Denby jump the gun deliberately to make it harder for the NYFCC to see movies earlier (and vote earlier) next year? Given that the New Yorker often prints reviews well after every else, you really have to wonder.”

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ is out in theaters on Dec. 23. As yet, no other critics have broken the review embargo.

UPDATE: The Playlist has published an email thread between David Denby and ‘Dragon Tattoo’ producer Scott Rudin, where the New Yorker critic said that he broke the embargo because of the year-end glut of films — which caused publication issues for the magazine. “The jam-up of important films makes it very hard on magazines. We don’t want to run a bunch of tiny reviews at Christmas. That’s not what The New Yorker is about. Anthony and I don’t want to write them that way, and our readers don’t want to read them that way.”

Unfortunately for Denby, Rudin didn’t see things his way. “The needs of the magazine cannot trump your word,” Rudin wrote in an email. “The fact that the review is good is immaterial, as I suspect you know. You’ve very badly damaged the movie by doing this, and I could not in good conscience invite you to see another movie of mine again.” No overreactions here! Head over to The Playlist to read the full email thread.

[via NYP, Deadline]

[Photo: Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.]



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