The rules do not apply to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Most other major December releases would be eager to get their film in for critics to see it and perhaps show it some love, but Star Wars doesn’t need critics love. What it needs right now, Disney believes, is secrecy, and it plans to maintain that by not screening the film for critics groups.
The awards race officially begins when the National Board of Review announces their choices for the best films of the year, and while their selection is a mystery, it certainly won’t be The Force Awakens. According to The Wrap, Disney isn’t screening the film for that group or any other critics group, which means it will miss out on the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Screen Actors Guild.
For Disney, this strategy makes sense since there’s little upside if the film somehow finds its way into the hearts of critics group. Anticipation for the movie is already at a fever pitch, and screening it for critics groups only heightens the chance for a leak. Even if the movie won the top prize or any prizes from those groups, there aren’t loads of people out there who are waiting to buy Force Awakens tickets, but are waiting to make sure it has a stamp of critical approval from the NYFCC or the LAFCA. Also, the prerogative of critics groups tends to be focusing on smaller films anyway, not blockbusters that can get the cover Entertainment Weekly.
It’s not clear if Disney plans to keep this strategy for Star Wars: Rogue One, which opens next December, or if it’s just for director J.J. Abrams since he loves his mystery box. Either way, The Force Awakens is still opening in plenty of time for Academy members to take notice on their own and react accordingly. The larger question is when the general press gets to see the latest Star Wars film and when the embargo will lift.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18th. For more Star Wars coverage, peruse the links below:
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: Leia Doesn’t Go by “Princess” Anymore
- Over 20 New ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Images Tease Exciting Story Points
- Harrison Ford Still Eager for ‘Indiana Jones 5′, Still Grumpy About ‘Star Wars’
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ EW Covers Feature Harrison Ford, and More
- Exclusive: First ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Trailer Is Attached to ‘Star Wars’