Big-city movie critics won't get an advance screening of 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra'

Members of the G.I. Joe team include, from left, Duke (Channing Tatum); Gen. Hawk (Dennis Quaid); Breaker (Sa? Taghmaoui); Scarlett (Rachel Nichols); and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans). G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra opens Friday.

Paramount Pictures

Members of the G.I. Joe team include, from left, Duke (Channing Tatum); Gen. Hawk (Dennis Quaid); Breaker (Sa? Taghmaoui); Scarlett (Rachel Nichols); and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans). G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra opens Friday.

Paramount Pictures won't show G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to critics except for "outside the entertainment vortexes of New York and Los Angeles," according to the Associated Press.

Welcome to the vortex, folks.

Tampa Bay critics aren't invited to see G.I. Joe either. Paramount is apparently cherry-picking its preview screenings — including an Air Force base for the military action flick — to maximize chances of positive word of mouth. With Twitter being blamed for the fast fade of Bruno at the box office, Paramount is taking no chances.

Holding movies back from critics happens all the time but usually with run-of-the-kill horror flicks, stupid comedies or anything that studios don't believe will impress.

However, it's an unusual move for a wannabe blockbuster like G.I. Joe, unless Paramount concedes it doesn't have the firepower to be one.

Why show a lame movie to critics who'll likely blast it, possibly denting the opening weekend box office take? Opening weekends make or break movies these days, as attention spans get shorter and easily enticed by next weekend's shiny object.

The few critics who have seen G.I. Joe are mostly fanboys from Web sites hoping their names show up in newspaper and TV blurbs. Good for them. I'll buy a ticket Friday and post a review at entertainment.tampabay.com.

Steve Persall can be reached at persall@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.

Big-city movie critics won't get an advance screening of 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' 08/04/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 9:32pm]

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