The highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will not screen in advance for Austin critics, and presumably not for the vast majority of print critics nationwide. This means that opening-day reviews in print and online will be extremely limited.
It’s an unusual but not unexpected move for such a big-budget, high-profile project, now under Disney’s control after creator/director George Lucas sold the rights a few years ago.
But it probably won’t make any difference in terms of box office, at least not for the first week or so. Many theaters have sold out the first screenings of the film, which opens Dec. 18.
It does, however, raise questions about the quality of the film. It’s rare for movies not to screen in advance — especially if the studio has confidence in the film and expects good reviews.
But who knows what will happen with this new installment of “Star Wars”? One thing is for certain: Even if the late reviews aren’t glowing, the film looks like a blockbuster at the box office.