There’s a lot riding on the success of the upcoming DC movie Justice League. It’s no secret it has Avengers-sized aspirations, and to do that it will need solid reviews. That’s what makes Warner Bros.’ decision to embargo the movie’s reviews until the last possible second so perplexing.
Justice League reviews are embargoed until Wednesday morning at 2:50 AM, just one day before the release. Meanwhile, the Rotten Tomatoes score won’t be available until Thursday at 12:01 AM, the day the movie hits theaters. This is not a good look for Justice League.
The only time reviews for a movie are delayed is when studio brass expects bad reviews. If a movie earns glowing reviews, studios love to throw around the fact, plastering ads with soundbites from said reviews. The same applies to the Rotten Tomatoes score.
We can’t discount the possibility of Warner Bros. trying to avoid a Batman v. Superman-type of disaster. By holding the release of reviews, this eliminates the negativity surrounding the movie leading to its release, just in case the reception isn’t positive. But again, this is mostly done when a negative reaction is anticipated.
From what we’ve heard from early viewings, Justice League is a bit of a mixed bag. Most took issue with the messy and hasty storyline while praising the characters. This may be what is leading Warner Bros. to be extra cautious with Justice League.
Whatever the reason for this decision, it casts a cloud on Justice League and beyond. If reviews are tepid and it fails to build off the momentum Wonder Woman set earlier this year, the viability of the DC movie universe will truly be called into question.