Despite controversy over a lack of pre-release screenings for critics, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra had a great opening weekend. The reason for that, according to director Stephen Sommers? Because Joe is critic-proof, and all about the geek love.
Sommers explained why Joe didn't need reviews from mainstream critics (and why it did need the internet) to Variety's Mike Fleming:
I know it sounds cliche, but I don't read [reviews from movie critics]. Why would I? I make the kind of movies critics love to hate. They love dark and depressing movies. If you make those, you expect they will love you, you need them to love you. The kind of movies I make? They don't enjoy commercial or popular movies. I would say that geek love is hard to earn, and I got that in mounds. All the internet movie haters love this movie. To win them over, was something... Nobody who goes to see these movies reads Richard Corliss. The mass audience pays no attention to these critics. I'm not sure they matter. It's about word of mouth. I just got an A with the under-25 crowd. Would I rather have that score or the top 25 critics raving about me? I'll take what I got. I want as many people as possible to see my movie. I grew up loving movies like `Jaws' and `Star Wars.' When you sit in a theater and have that shared experience, it is the biggest rush. From what I saw at theaters, the audience is cheering out loud in all the right places, and laughing in the right places.
Earlier in the same interview, Sommers also said,
I don't think the mainstream critics are relevant here, they have criticized themselves into irrelevancy. `Transformers 2' got the worst reviews in the last decade, and it is the biggest hit of the year. More people will see that than any other movie. On my movie, it became so clear to us. Why not make those reviewers pay their $15 like everyone else?
If this thinking continues for movie studios - and I wouldn't be surprised if movies like 2012 don't try a similar argument - then does this mean that there's going to end up being a class tier for movie reviews? Will mainstream magazines like Entertainment Weekly get shut out of covering popular movies because they're not nerdy enough, and if so, doesn't that mean that the movies will end up segregating themselves? Color me confused... and wondering if Sommers is just trying to cover Joe's ass after the movie was a success.
Sommers Gets Last Laugh [Variety]