Mega producer Scott Rudin is spitting mad at The New Yorker's film critic David Denby for his freshly published review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, two weeks before the film's release and ahead of the time-honored "embargo" studios ask critics to honor. The notion of an embargo, is basically a polite agreement that exchanges access to screenings for timely coverage (usually saved for the week of a film's release). The digital age has been hard on this mutually beneficial quid pro quo, as usually it's been the Web where early reviews have appeared. But in the emails between Denby and Rudin, republished by Indiewire, The New Yorker's decision to break the embargo was about as old-fashioned as they come: a holiday movie schedule crowded with prestige movies, and a holiday double issue publication schedule. Denby said that in order to give Dragon Tattoo, a film he liked, its proper due, he and his editors (presumably) decided to go ahead and run the review early. This explanation didn't sit well with Rudin.
The reference to the New York Film Critics Circle is kind of the ironic twist to the story. The only reason that Denby saw Dragon Tattoo so early was because the NYFCC moved its annual awards voting to an earlier date so they could be some of the first awards of the frantically busy awards season. Denby opposed the early date but fought in vain, and so the critics were shown Dragon Tattoo and then the review ran and if everyone had just listened to Denby in the first place, none of this would have happened.
It seems unlikely that one of the two main critics for The New Yorker will actually be permanently banned from Scott Rudin movies (the dude makes a lot of movies, often for the kind of people who read The New Yorker), but for now tempers are running hot and everyone's pissy. About a movie review. For a guaranteed hit movie. Carry on, Hollywood! (Or, in this case, New York.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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