Ashton Kutcher in KillersIf a movie doesn't screen for movie journalists in time for Friday morning deadlines, we generally assume that the distributor doesn't have faith that it will review well. The same goes for night-before screenings, to a certain extent, but as far as movie reviewers go, a day-of "courtesy screening" can't help but carry a stench of failure. I'm not even sure that courtesy screenings extend beyond so-called major markets like New York City and Los Angeles, meaning that critics in other cities have to scramble to buy a ticket and see the first showing of a movie they're assigned to review.

I know you're crying for the inconvenienced critics, but before you jump down my throat, please don't forget it's a job, not just a hobby, and that we have deadlines to juggle -- last-minute reviews are not only a pain in the keister but also not always written as carefully or thoughtfully as when we're given enough time to digest a film, which does a disservice both to the film and to readers.

This is the case with Lionsgate's new film Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, as Christy Lemire at the Associated Press points out. Lionsgate's official stance is that the company is banking on word of mouth buzz via social networking and, one might assume, a media campaign that includes plenty of advertising and talk show appearances. Their official statement is as follows:
"We want to capitalize on the revolution in social media by letting audiences and critics define this film concurrently... In today's socially connected marketplace, we all have the ability to share feedback instantly around the world. In keeping with this spirit, Lionsgate and the filmmakers want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see Killers simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of Killers."


Kutcher will no doubt be flogging the flick on his popular Twitter feed, and also plans to film the first 13 minutes of a screening himself to convince fans that they'll dig it. (If he actually does it, how's it going to go over with Lionsgate? I'd like an official statement on that.)

The real question is, of course, whether or not marketing moves like this affects a movie-goer's decision to see Killers when it opens. Obviously, there will be folks who plan to see it no matter how it's reviewed, if at all, and there are many more who don't read reviews at all. But what about those on the fence? Is this something that matters to anyone outside of the insular world of movie journalism, or are we the only ones who take notice? Because in the end, that's what it really comes down to: the people buying the tickets. So, what do you think? Are you planning to see Killers? Does this in any way affect your decision?