Rant: Is Summit Screwing Over Alex Proyas' Knowing?
by Alex Billington
March 10, 2009
Let me preface this by saying that the last time I wrote an article about something like this (Fox and Taken), I ending up being wrong, so this could all just be another erroneous prediction, but it's on my mind, so why not write about it. Dark City director Alex Proyas' next film Knowing opens in theaters on March 20th, in just a few more weeks. The only problem is that the buzz it currently has is all negative. And I think it's going to kill it because Summit isn't doing anything about it. On one hand, they're trying to keep the ending a secret and prevent negative reviews from hitting, but on the other, they're not giving it a chance.
A few hours ago, a story hit the front page of Digg titled "I fixed your movie for you, Mr. Cage." The photo it links to shows the poster for Knowing with the title at the bottom changed to "Annual Terrible Movie." What I'm wondering is why Knowing is getting this kind of unsubstantiated hatred before even hitting theaters. I know that it's spring, and we usually only get one good movie during this time anyway (which was already Watchmen). And I also know that Nic Cage has been staring in nothing but pure crap recently, but come on, really?! Out of all the movies opening in March, is Knowing really the worst one we'll see?
I'd like to be able to tell you right now, right here, that I've seen Knowing and that it's actually really good. But I can't. I'm not here to complain about how I should have been invited to a screening because I'm a critic and so on, I'm complaining about Summit's decisions to control who and when they show Knowing to. In fact, they haven't even really had a screening yet, so I can't legitimately complain about not being invited. Well, technically they had their press junket in New York City last weekend, but even that was a fairly quiet event. I feel like keeping Knowing hidden from press is just hurting them more than helping.
This actually happens in Hollywood a lot. The same thing happened with Watchmen, except vice versa, where critics in New York weren't shown the movie at the same time as those in Los Angeles. I don't think that really hurt Watchmen in the end and here's the key reason why. They showed it, in advance, to all of the fanboys and all of the people who they knew were strong supporters. Sure, a few of them walked out disappointed, but most of them walked out quite amazed. And thus, some early positive buzz started to build, all because Warner Brothers trusted the Watchmen fanboys and supporters of Zack Snyder.
Summit, however, does not trust anyone. To make things more confusing, Ain't It Cool News ran a review from a reader who has seen Knowing (in New York, I presume) who said that it "way exceeded my expectations." He goes on to say that it borders on being a "brilliant thriller" and is "an intense experience." Now I'm wondering if Knowing is actually a damn good movie and Summit is just afraid to show it and therefore it's getting more negative buzz the longer they wait. Why don't they just show it to us and get it over with? If it's as good as some are saying, then let us see it, because I might end up liking it!
Of course, I could be completely wrong, and Knowing could be a big pile of Nic Cage crap. But I don't know if that's the case or not. And if I keep believing all of what I'm hearing and seeing, like that poster on Digg, then it's not even going to have a chance to be appreciated. Director Alex Proyas has his supporters. He has a cult following due to The Crow and Dark City. And although not everyone liked I, Robot that much, he still hasn't made a terrible movie. I've got faith in him, and I want to see Knowing because I have hope that it could be great. But until Summit shows it to us, it's just going to keep getting trashed by audiences.