The great advantage of press screenings is not, as most assume, bragging rights. Rather, it’s the environment. With the exception of major releases like Inception, these screenings are usually conducted in small theaters in midtown where distraction is at a minimum. Attendance is often low, people are reasonably respectful, and what’s more, there aren’t any trailers or pre-trailer advertisements. The latter are the bane of my existence. I’ll concede I’ve maybe been spoiled by my gig, but I nevertheless want to claw my eyes out whenever confronted with, say, Regal’s First Look. There are ways to get around this, mind you, other than showing up at the last second. In France, they actually list separate starting times for the ads and the feature, and in China, they’ll up and sue your ass if you show them too many commercials.
At a screening of the domestic box office hit, Aftershock, Chen Xiaomei was enraged at having to endure 20 minutes worth of ads. Now she’s suing the Polybona International Cinema and film distributors Huayi Brothers Media Corporation for wasting her time. Any shock that Chen is a lawyer?
The People’s Court in Xian has accepted the case, but it’s still unclear if it will be heard. For my part, I hope she wins, and that there are million copycat suits. Start your lawyers.