Seeing a movie in theaters has gotten expensive, y’all. If you’re like me and not a little lady moneybags, then you really have to think about what you see on the big screen, and what you should maybe just catch on Netflix in a few months.
I’m lucky in that I get to see most movies for free during screenings, so I can warn friends and Crushable readers away from duds, but I won’t always be around, okay? So we have to teach you some tricks so you can fend for yourselves. “Teach a man to spot when a fish is rotten before he ever pulls it into the boat and he’ll…eat for a lifetime” or whatever. You know the saying.
Here are the simplest tricks we know for predicting whether a film is gonna be a total stinker.
1. The release date gets pushed back.
It’s a bad sign any time this happens, but the closer it is to the date in question, the worse it is. Release dates are typically set way out in advance with plenty of time for editing and filming, so any adjustment once that’s set is usually because the film wants to select a less desirable release date when it can compete more favorably with other movies coming out at the same time.
2. The release date gets pushed back to January.
When a movie that’s supposed to come out in the middle of Oscar season gets pushed a few months, right into the middle of January and February, that’s my favorite thing in the world, because it couldn’t be a clearer message. A movie like Monuments Men, for example — they go from a December premiere, which essentially says, “I think this movie is worthy of an Oscar, so I want it to be fresh in your mind when you consider nominations”, to a February 7th premiere, which says, “Sorry about before. I’d rather this movie not be fresh in any mind for any reason.”
3. If it has too many trailers.
When we first started hearing about Great Gatsby, it was still supposed to be good. But then like...twelve trailers later, the movie still wasn’t out. Releasing multiple trailers is one way that producers try to buy themselves time and distract from the fact that they’re delaying their release date.
4. If they cancel screeners.
If a movie’s good, the people who are due to make money off of it want critics to see it beforehand so that they can write it up and encourage their readers to check it out. But if it’s not good, they don’t want people to be hip to that until after they spend money seeing it for themselves.
5. If their only blurbs are from smaller publications.
If the little review blurbs that they’re using in their advertising are short, out-of-context sentences from publications you haven’t heard of, it’s likely because nobody larger had anything nice to say. When we reviewed Emma Roberts‘ movie Adult World last year, someone from their PR team got in touch with us to see if they could use the quote ‘Emma Roberts proves she can act’…which was just the second half of our title: Adult World Confuses Me As A Writer And As A Person, But Emma Roberts Proves She Can Act. Yiiiikes.
6. If the original cast doesn’t sign on.
This only really works for sequels, but if the people who are being paid to be in a movie aren’t even interested in doing it, why should you be interested in paying to see it?
And that’s it! Now you can see into the fuuuutuuuuuure!