The film's director has been nominated for an Oscar six times. The film's male lead is the current star of the biggest film franchise in history. The female lead is an Oscar winner. The supporting female star is an Oscar nominee.
Surely this is a prestige film that any studio would want to trumpet to critics. Even if the movie captured only a fraction of the hosannas its combined talents have garnered over the years, it would make for great buzz.
But Universal isn't showing Dream House, starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, and directed by Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, In America), to critics before it arrives in theaters Friday.
OK, the initial reaction is that the film must be a stinker. But studios preview lots of stinkers for critics. Everybody got to see Green Lantern. Everybody saw Larry Crowne. Heck, even The Smurfs was screened for critics, most of whom had gleefully sharpened their carving knives in advance.
The other possibility is that Universal — and most other studios — don't think it's worth their while to screen horror movies these days, the assumption being that horror fans are mostly kids who don't read reviews and will go to any scare fest whether it's highbrow or lowbrow.
Beyond that, horror films currently aren't exactly big moneymakers — there are no horror films among the top 30 hits so far this year, unless you count Justin Bieber: Never Say Never — so why bother?
Here's why: The Shining. The Blair Witch Project. 28 Days Later. The Descent. Misery. The Silence of the Lambs. Heck, the Paranormal Activity movies.
There are good horror films. There are smart horror fans. The films deserve a chance to reach a broader audience, and the fans should be able to read reactions to the films before plunking down 10 bucks to see them.