It was revealed yesterday that the surprise screening at this year’s Sundance was the Wachowski’s highly anticipated sci-fi film Jupiter Ascending — which is kind of odd, because you don’t normally think of a film requiring 3D glasses as the secret screening of Sundance. Nevertheless, this was the first time anyone has seen this film. Unfortunately, the reception was not what Warner Bros. was hoping for (i.e. it was really bad).
As reported by Yahoo Movies, the event was invite-only and took place at the Egyptian Theater in Park City. Despite all the hype and secrecy, though, there were clusters of vacant seats in this 300-person theater. Worse still, a "handful" of people left before the movie was even done, and by the time Jupiter Ascending finished, people were heard sneering. Someone in attendance, who wanted to remain nameless for obvious reasons, called it "ridiculous," while another said it was "a combination of a whole bunch of things wrapped into one." Another even went as far as to speculate that Warner Bros. would lose a ton of money over the film. It’s probably a good thing critics weren’t invited.
Considering Jupiter Ascending will likely either repair or further damage the Wachowski siblings’ relationship with the studio, this is not the best of news. The Matrix films were the only works of theirs to make bank at the box office for Warner Bros. Their follow-ups, Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas, didn’t do so hot. To add even more pressure, the studio reportedly spent upwards of $170 million on Jupiter Ascending, which was originally supposed to be released in the summer of 2014. However, due to post-production issues, it’s now opening on February 6.
Needless to say, everyone involved has a lot riding on Jupiter Ascending. However, screenwriter Neville Kiser, who attended the secret Sundance screening, put the bad reception in perspective.
I actually liked it. But the Sundance context is weird. There were so many people in the audience scoffing and sneering. They are forgetting they are watching a movie targeted primarily to teenage boys. I’m sure those 15-year-old boys, and hopefully girls, will like it."
As Yahoo mentioned, one programmer was able to snag a ticket to the screening and was told that reviews of the film are embargoed until Monday. Press screenings for the film should also be announced in the near future — at least, we’d hope so, since Jupiter Ascending hits theaters a week from Friday! — so we’ll have a better sense of what to expect in no time. If you’re like us, all this negative reception only makes us want to see the movie even more to see if it’s true. Well, that and the fact that Channing Tatum plays a half-wolf warrior and Oscar-nominated actor Eddie Redmayne plays an intergalactic prince with a wardrobe full of swanky robes. Oh, yeah, and there’s Sean Bean, who, if history has anything to say about it, will probably die at some point.