The perils of reviews under Embargo

The Mandarin - Iron Man 3 Character posterYesterday I was sitting in one of the leopard-print seats at the Odeon West End watching with several thousand other people the upcoming film Iron Man 3.

Today, whilst typing this in there is a mass of building work going on outside the same cinema in preparation for its UK premiere.

You maybe wondering what this has to do with “embargo” that this post is titled. Well, it’s like this. Some films when you see them at a press show have an embargo slapped on them. This means I cannot talk about the film until a specific date. This can be hard with films like Iron Man 3 as I would love to go on and on and on about what the film is like, what happened and if I enjoyed it or not.

I did tweet about the film when it finished.

I don’t think I broke any embargoes saying what I said but in this industry you never know 🙂

Most of the time embargoes are implied. “please don’t talk about the film until x”. This time, like the last film I watched with an embargo attached, all reviews are strictly embargoed. I’m not sure what the difference between an implied embargo, a normal embargo or a review that is strictly embargoed. I’m sure someone can help me

I tend to embargo film reviews on my other website[s]. Under the small umbrella and Road Rash Reviews. Normally based on the the guidance of the Film Distributor’s Association’s website, Launching Films. This states:

For daily and weekly publications in all media, including television and radio programmes, film reviews are embargoed until the week of the film’s UK cinema release. This embargo also applies across all forms of online communications including social networking, blogging forums, twitter and online chat rooms.

Other times, especially with the more relaxed atmosphere of  home entertainment This guidance doesn’t apply as the distributor normally says “Publish when ready, preferable close to the release date”.  None of this “Do not publish before x days before it hits the shelves” .  That’s not always true as some do ask for that to be taken into consideration.  If that is the case I fall back on the above guidance.

I’m not sure if it’s easier or harder if the embargoed film is a good or a bad one. You still have to give the same respect to the views of the distributor. Yes, I could ignore the embargo and talk about it but professional pride stops me from doing this. Silence, in this case, isn’t a perceived comment about, in some people’s eyes, how bad the film is. The film just is “…”.

Just as I was about to put this live I discovered that the embargo for the film doesn’t cover twitter. With that in mind, as well I did put a general review tweet up.