Two days ago at the Denver Film Festival a trade critic called to say he’d been told by a Fox rep he would be physically blocked from a public festival showing of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Fox Walden, 11.16). I ran an item about this late Saturday afternoon I was told this morning by Fox Walden spokesperson Jeffrey Godsick that the incident was some kind of misunderstanding, that an “overzealous” festival rep had conveyed the physical blocking threat (“a weird little thing“) and not a local Fox rep, that the film has in fact been screened for certain critics including Richard Roeper and Michael Wilmington, and that the film was screened for junket press last weekend so no one’s hiding anything.

Denver Film Festival media relations chief Britta Erickson also called to explain that “neither the festival staffers nor Fox reps would have physically blocked any critic from seeing the film” and that Saturday’s festival screening was “a great event for families and children, as it was a benefit for Toys for Tots.”

Godsick said there had been an expectation that trade reviews would be held until the day before the 11.16 opening, and that yesterday’s review by Variety‘s Brian Lowry was posted because Variety took the appearance of Magorium quotes in Sunday newspaper ads as a green light to run their own review.

Lowry called Magorium a “genial and G-rated fantasy from screenwriter/first-time director Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) that sprinkles in charming moments but ultimately doesn’t evoke enough wonderment to overcome its tongue-twisting title and completely win over adults along with kids. Given the dearth of quality family fare, Fox and Walden might drum up nice business, but holiday shoppers at this emporium should be advised that the merchandise is limited in scope and ambition and thus more suited to the specialty realm than franchise-oriented spectacle.”