Earlier this week, when we were weighing possible Valentine’s Day plans (that was before this), we came across something that made everything better — we had found a date, and his name was Clive Owen. We had a vague recollection that he had two movies coming out, but didn’t know when, or whether they would be any good — until, thanks to a probably desperate studio and the beauty of the internet, we watched an official version of the first five minutes of The International, which comes out today. And now we can’t not go see the rest of it.
Directed by Run Lola Run‘s Tom Twyker, the film has a chilly, stunning opening, involving close-ups of Owen’s face, the beautiful central train station in Berlin, and a heart attack. The ability to stream these opening scenes, released by Sony and MSN, in a completely democratic and legitimate manner, was a new experience — since when are sneak-peaks available to everyone, and at such length?
Today, it was announced that upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine would be doing a similar gimmick: FOX will feature an “exclusive three-part reveal” consisting of three special one-minute spots that will be played during Family Guy, House, and American Idol, and will obviously be available online the day after (officially or not).
Both films can only benefit from this — The International will be better off if movie-goers are able to distinguish this from the Clive Owen/Julia Roberts vehicle Duplicity, and Wolverine will finally get some positive buzz.
It might seem kind of lame to get excited over mere minutes from movies we don’t even know if we want to watch — but that’s the whole point. If a studio feels confident enough with a film that it is willing to release more than an intentionally chopped-up trailer to a wide audience, and trusts us to be able to tell whether or not it will be good, we’re all for it. In a time when the “press” doesn’t have exclusive rights to generating buzz anymore, and everyone is a film blogger, it makes sense to give possible fans a chance to get psyched about a film, if it seems to deserve it. Especially when it’s a film like The International, whose reviews are so-so and whose buzz is minimal, but whose opening made such an impact on us that we’re confident we’ll enjoy watching the other 175 minutes.