Warner Bros.’ decision to secretly screen Andy and Lana Wachowski‘s Jupiter Ascending (opening 2.6) last night at Park City’s Egyptian theatre didn’t turn out all that well. The Egyptian is a small theatre but the crowd was far from capacity, according to Variety and a couple of tweets, and all were forbidden from reviewing until next week. The elf-eared “space opera” is anything but a typical Sundance-type film, and everyone has been presuming all along that it’s some kind of problem movie so why show it here in the first place? A fair number of Sundance-attending press weren’t invited, were turned away at the door or didn’t even know about the screening, to go by several conversations I had last night.
From Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh: “Despite the hype of a secret Jupiter Ascending screening, clusters of seats inside the 300-person venue remained empty, and a handful of patrons walked out” — bailed! — “of the two-hour-plus space epic starring Mila Kunis as a princess and Channing Tatum as an intergalactic soldier tasked with rescuing her.
“The Wachowskis’ flair was fully on display, with sequences reminiscent of The Matrix or Star Wars. But when the film ended, the usually gracious Sundance audience didn’t clap at the closing credits.
“‘I hated it,’ said one of the festival’s volunteers, who asked not to be identified for fear of irking Sundance. ‘It’s just ridiculous.’