Disney marketers have accepted a closing-night slot for Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln at the 2012 AFIFest. This is all about “be careful” and playing it close to the chest. It would have been different if they’d decided on the AFI’s opening-night slot or, better yet, the closing-night slot of the New York Film Festival on 10.14. The latter would have said “we invite your reactions because we love this film and have great confidence in it…yeah!” But the 11.8 slot at the AFIFest, a day before it opens commercially, is basically about caution.

It basically says “the AFIfest hoopla will help a little bit, fine, but we can’t risk a big wave of critical reactions. We feel fantastic about Daniel Day Lewis‘s performance, his voice choice notwithstanding, but we’d rather have this film open on the strength of our three big names — DDL, Abraham Lincoln and Steven Spielberg.”