As many will have seen on the internet over the past couple of weeks, there have been many adverts for the film Super 8, the latest film by J.J. Abrams. The adverts in question have been boasting of the film’s June 10th release date and I personally couldn’t wait. I was quite surprised, considering that I hadn’t seen anything on television promoting it. Instead I just put that down to my not watching television all that often and just presumed that it was going to be out on June 10th.
Then, June 10th came around and I couldn’t wait to go and see it that weekend. This is a film that I’ve been waiting for since I saw the teaser trailer last year, which depicted nothing but a train crash and something crashing out of a freight carriage. So, when I went on the internet that night to find showing times, I was confused to find that there were none. I checked a few cinemas and yet the results were the same. That’s when I Googled the UK release date. August 5th. The film comes out in the UK pretty much two months later than it does in America.
I found it extremely irritating that websites such as Facebook who had been advertising the June 10th release date couldn’t at least change it to August 5th for the UK users, or remove the advert altogether for the users outside of America if it wasn’t going to be the case. Instead, I’ve got a two month wait for a film that should really be given a worldwide release.
Of course, America getting the first pickings as far as films are concerned is nothing new. On the contrary, Oscar nominated films such as The Fighter and True Grit were released a good while earlier. Both were released around December time in America and didn’t come to UK cinemas until February of the following year. It’s quite ridiculous, the UK film-goer can’t really be ignored, especially when they make up for the second largest portion of the film’s grossings. Whilst that portion remains to be only a fraction of America’s earnings, it doesn’t warrant completely ignoring it for two months, least of all with films such as The Fighter and True Grit which were tipped for Oscar success shortly after their release.
Admittedly, Super 8 isn’t receiving quite the same buzz surrounding its release as those two did, thought with a film such as Super 8 it risks suffering from a different problem entirely. The difference between a film such as The Fighter, for example, coming out two months earlier in America and a film like Super 8 being released early is the advertising. The Fighter, looking at the trailer, is fairly predictable, it’s just the standard Rocky / every other sports movie formula which you can predict from the moment you walk in. He’ll get beat, he’ll spend the film trying to get better, he’ll win the final fight.
Super 8, however, was advertised quite differently. J.J. Abrams employed the Cloverfield technique with the advertising campaign for Super 8, refusing to show any footage of the creature in the trailers. This gives the audience a big reason to want to watch it, purely to see the creature if nothing else. If that film is then released two months earlier than it is in the UK, you can almost guarantee that there’ll be a source to watch it online within those two months. That, combined with reviews describing the creature as well as pictures online showing the creature, people aren’t going to hold out for two months to watch it.
So, those who were desperate to see the film in its entirety turn to the internet to watch it two months early and those who were only interested in seeing the creature simply Google it and find pictures people took inside the theatres. Super 8 loses a good portion of its paying customers right away, all for ridiculous financial reasons.
Now, normally I don’t watch films on the internet. In fact, I can only think of three times when I have done so, one being Paranormal Activity (due to being quite unsure of watching the film at all, let alone paying a fiver to watch it in the cinema), another being Twilight (yeah, I know, I don’t feel good about it. I just wanted to be able to abuse it off the back of an informed opinion, and that I have) and the last being The Shining (due to just not being bothered to pay for it, it’s just as well really, it wasn’t even good). I won’t watch a film online unless it’s a film I’m merely contemplating watching but not really willing to pay for, or if I want to see what all the hype is about. However, I made an exception for Super 8, after being bombarded on Facebook with various videos promoting the film and having watched / read some reviews. I’d been waiting a year, I wasn’t prepared to wait another two months for a reason I still don’t understand.
Anyway, the film was amazing, I wasn’t let down. I got fortunate, however, in the sense that with the exception of a few close ups, I didn’t even see the creature. Granted that this was mainly due to the poor quality of the online posting of the film and the footage was much darker than it would be in the pictures, the fact remains that I still don’t feel as if I’ve properly experienced it. I know the plot and what is going to happen, though I’m still going to be in the cinemas on its opening weekend watching it on the big screen, partly because I feel as if I owe it to Mr Abrams but mainly because I want to see it on the big screen.
Let’s hope that others take a similar view, or else J.J. Abrams is going to lose out on quite a bit of money.