The big Manhattan all-media screenings for Knight and Day (20th Century Fox, 6.23) are happening this evening. (I’m catching the 8:30 pm showing.) Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson has seen it and says it “works.” (Forget the link — Indiewire isn’t loading.) And yet it’s “tracking badly because it’s not a pre-sold title and its two stars are not at their peak right now.”

If a tracking survey guy called me and said, “On a scale of one to ten, how keen are you on seeing Knight and Day?,” I would probably say I’m at level seven. I’m at eight and a half for Mangold and Cruise, but Diaz is a four, at best (her ditsyness drives me nuts plus she’s been looking a little long-of-tooth) so it averages out to seven.

That said, I don’t see how typical Eloi sentiments would be especially problematic. Could it be that they don’t understand that Knight and Day is filet mignon to the Wendy’s hamburger that was Killers? You’d have to be pretty fucking dumb not to see that at a glance.

“Truth is, the studios are facing a new reality,” Thompson writes. “Tracking is no longer accurate because audiences are getting wind of feedback on films via Twitter and other social networks. It’s hard to buy an opening weekend gross now. But with a movie that plays — which Knight and Day does — it will build good buzz. That’s why the studio is not only wisely opening the movie on Wednesday, but sneaking it this Saturday too.

James Mangold‘s movie, written by Patrick O’Neill, boasts a clever high concept — it pits masculine/dark/muscled action star Cruise against feminine/light/sexy comedienne Diaz. It’s a meta-movie that deconstructs and riffs on its genre formulas. And Cruise and Diaz are a delightful combination. She more than holds her own with him — they both know exactly what they are doing. Fox believes that the movie will pick up steam as it goes.”