Take A Chance, Win Some Crap: World War Z Screening Wednesday For 50 Bucks

world_war_z_book_coverWorld War Z is a movie about the zombie apocalypse. It started its life as a spectacular zombie novel by Max Brooks, the guy who wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. The first few drafts of original movie screenplay were written by comics stalwart J. Michael Straczynski . That movie, starring Brad Pitt, who played Jeffrey in Twelve Monkeys and who millions of genre fans saw in Meet Joe Black (as it was the movie that the first, pre-broadband Internet trailer for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace premiered in front of), opens widely next Friday, June 21st. This movie is, for lack of a better term, geek bait.

So what if I told you that there was a way that you could go see that movie on June 19th: two whole days before the rest of the drooling, release date-shackled masses? And no, this is not me with some press-related advance passes trolling for a blowjob… but make no mistake: somebody wants to fuck you.

Paramount Pictures has announced that they will, in Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, be screening World War Z on Wednesday in premium theaters. And you can be a part of one of those limited screenings for the low, low price of 50 bucks! A piece! To see a movie! A movie that has been through reshoots, a handful of screenwriters after Straczynski, and enough release delays to make a dominatrix weep with professional jealousy!

But that’s not all! You also get some crap!

If you lay down the coin to attend one of these screenings, you will be given many special gifts! Including:

  • A link to download or stream an HD digital copy of the movie (eventually)!
  • A pair of World War Z-themed 3D glasses!
  • A limited-edition World War Z movie poster! and:
  • A small popcorn! *

Paramount is estimating the value of this swag at $75 American, which seems accurate, provided your model of the Free Market System includes the idea of beating someone about the head and neck until unconsciousness, taking $75 from them and dropping this stuff on their prone form.

I’m gonna ignore the fact that a small popcorn costs the theater about one cent, that you can’t watch a 3D movie without being provided some form of 3D glasses, and that I’ll be able to obtain a digital copy of World War Z from Bittorrent by midnight on Friday. Instead, I’ll simply observe that, no matter what you say about Kevin Smith, clearly Hollywood has been paying attention to him.

Smith released his last couple of movies in expensive, one-off screenings like this, and he’s been able to make a living at it… but there is one fundamental difference: at those screenings, Smith himself has attended, given a two-hour Q & A after… and then released the film to Netflix so anyone can see them for the price of their normal subscription. It is a complete distribution model to fund individual pictures without fucking over his fanbase.

This World War Z screening? It feels like it exists to Jack up opening weekend box office receipts on a flick that’s been fighting the buzz that it’s a stinker. And if that is the case, this isn’t for fans, it’s for studio accountants and producers who own a percentage of the gross.

Of course, I could be wrong, because this is actually potentially a risk for Paramount; unless they’re handling out non-disclosure agreements with the cheap swag, the bloggers who will inevitably be part of the audience will savage the flick on the public Internets two days before it opens widely, which wouldn’t be good business…

But still: $50 to see World War Z a day or two early seems pretty ridiculous to me. I would never admit in public that I paid that kinda scratch to see a Brad Pitt movie before anyone else… unless J. J. Abrams casts him as Jacen Solo in Episode VII (NOTE TO J. J. ABRAMS: Please do not do this).

But hey; it’s your money. So if you want tickets for one of these screenings, you can get them through Fandango.

* I could make the obvious, “What? No fucking soda?” joke here, but I know full well that I would smuggle in a flask of bourbon to dull the pain of having paid $50 to see a fucking movie.

(via Bleeding Cool and Deadline)