‘Dragon Tattoo’ Director on Embargo Imbroglio: Films Succeed Through WOM

David Fincher, the director behind the upcoming Girl With the Dragon Tattoo film weighed in on the embargo imbroglio with The New Yorker‘s David Denby during an interview with the Miami Herald yesterday.

“…If it were up to me, I wouldn’t show movies to anybody before they were released. I wouldn’t give clips to talk shows. I would do one trailer and three television spots and let the chips fall where they may,” the story says (italics, theirs). “Ultimately, movies live or die by word of mouth anyway. All that other stuff doesn’t matter.”

An article on Slate kind of bolsters this argument.

According to Bill Wyman, films are frequently screened for critics along with contest winners and other regulars, who are expected to leave the theater and pass along word of how great the movie is.

Moreover, without the embargoes there’s a good chance that reporters would tweet about the screening while it’s happening.

“That wouldn’t serve readers. Giving critics time to write serious reviews does,” the article says.

The story also goes into a lot of detail about impressions and strategy that is purely in service to good promotions for the movie with little concern for the well-being of the viewer.

But indeed, it does sound like, beneath the advertising, the screenings, and the various other promos, the foundation of a good movie promotions strategy is building word-of-mouth. Which brings us back to Fincher’s comments.

Of course, a studio that has invested millions isn’t really into letting “the chips fall where they may.” And we can appreciate giving reporters and editors more time to formulate their thoughts. But Fincher also advocates for hosting three screenings the day before the opening. There’s something to be said for the urgency that would create. And perhaps tweets during the screening (no spoilers!) from critics would whet the appetites of followers for the opening the day after. The system as it is needs to change and now that I’m writing it, this doesn’t sound completely flawed.

What are your thoughts? The comments are open.