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A lot of folks are talking today about an email exchange, leaked to IndieWire, in which Hollywood super producer Scott Rudin rebukes New Yorker film critic David Denby for reviewing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ahead of its Dec. 13 embargo date. Over the weekend—-at exactly the same time, in fact!—-I received a similar missive from the chairman of the parent company of 20th Century Fox, who was irked about one of my upcoming reviews. It turns out studio types are really serious about these things!
—-Original Message——- From: Murdoch, Rupert Sent: Sat 12/3/2011 12:08 AM To: Olszewski, Tricia Subject:
You’re going to break the review embargo on Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked? I’m shocked that you of all people would even think about doing this. It’s a very, very injurious move and a complete violation of what you agreed to. You may be a woman of ill repute, but you’ve always adhered to embargo rules.
From: Olszewski, Tricia Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2011 11:19 AM To: Murdoch, Rupert Subject: RE:
Rupert, I never meant to break the embargo, and I wouldn’t have with a negative review. But this time of year is difficult on alt-weeklies: A glut of dreary Oscar-bait films are released, and we don’t want to undermine something as compelling as Chipwrecked with a tiny write-up. So we decided to give it the space it deserved, which meant running the review early. What were we supposed to cover instead—-Tinker Toy Soldier, or whatever it’s called? That’s not what the City Paper is all about.
So we reluctantly went with Chipwrecked, which I called “powerful.” I apologize for the breach, but it was a result of the strength of the film as well as year-end madness. It won’t happen again.
Congratulations on producing such a winning piece of cinema.
From: Murdoch, Rupert Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2011 13:04:32 -0500 To: Olszewski, Tricia Subject: Re:
I appreciate all this, Tricia, but the bottom line is you broke your word. You very badly damaged Chipwrecked by doing this; now ALL outlets will feel free to post early reviews of it willy-nilly. It doesn’t matter that you loved the film. You tacitly agreed to the embargo by attending the screening. The needs of your shitty publication do not trump the demands of the almighty 20th Century Fox or Newscorp, and if you knew you were going to break the rules, you should have done the honorable thing and confessed your intended breach to your Fox overlords before seeing the film. I cannot in good conscience invite you to another screening of ours. Have fun paying for Ice Age: Continental Drift.