In a rush to share test audience reactions from one of 2018’s most hotly anticipated horror releases, I failed to stress one extremely important point:
Filmmaking is a fluid and evolving process all the way up until the day a movie’s released.
Reports of test audience reactions aren’t uncommon. Just recently, word trickled out that Shane Black’s Predator met with mixed reviews. Subsequently, the release date has been postponed and Black’s team went back for fine tuning. Similarly, The New Mutants went back for reshoots following feedback from test audiences requesting more horror. In other words, it’s a normal part of the filmmaking process.
A review of a test screening must never be taken as a prediction for the final product. Did my source have major issues with the film he screened? Absolutely. Do I also have personal trepidation about said as-yet-to-be-release movie? Of course! But am I allowing leaks or personal anxieties to cloud my objective opinion? Of course not! For example, I was prepared for a shit show going into 2013’s Evil Dead but I fucking loved it!
The bottom line is, there’s never going to be a movie that pleases everyone, but fans must never take test screening reactions to heart.
So why do we even talk about them? I could just as easily ask why these articles are so popular. We’re all dying to see this film, so much so we repost every Tweet from the cast and crew, share our enthusiasm and trepidation in forums, and speculate endlessly. It’s how obsessive horror fans like myself (and presumably some of you) pass the time until a film’s release.
So why did we redact the article? When the studio requested I do so I was happy to oblige for one simple reason: They asked me to. My intention was never to cause the studio anxiety; I’m actually surprised they took the feedback of a single rouge screener as potentially damaging. But our goal is to be a cooperative member of the horror community, open to the feedback of all our readers. We’re here to entertain, but never at someone else’s expense.
I’m interested in your thoughts? What do you think of articles reporting on test audience reactions? Let’s discuss in the Comments section.