When Are Movie Reviews Typically Published Relative To The Release Date?




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Have you ever wondered when movie reviews are typically published in relation to the release date? This article aims to shed light on this intriguing question and delve into the broader discussion surrounding the film review industry. Whether you’re a film student, industry professional, or simply someone fascinated by the impact of movie reviews, this thought-provoking piece will explore the ethics, methodologies, and overall influence of reviews on the box office and the film industry as a whole. Through FAQs, think pieces, interviews with critics, and analytical essays, this article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of when movie reviews are commonly released, backed by data, expert opinions, and academic references. So, get ready to embark on a journey that uncovers the timing and significance of movie reviews in the ever-evolving landscape of cinema.


Movie reviews play a crucial role in shaping our opinions and expectations about films. They provide us with insights into the quality, plot, and overall experience of a movie. But have you ever wondered why movie reviews are sometimes published before a film’s release, while other times they come out after? In this article, we will explore the various factors that influence the timing of movie reviews. From film festival premieres to embargo dates, social media reactions to advertisement campaigns, and advance screenings, there are several key elements that determine when movie reviews hit the screens.

Factors Influencing the Timing of Movie Reviews

Film Festival Premieres

Film festivals are known for showcasing the latest and most highly acclaimed films from around the world. These events, such as the Cannes Film Festival or the Sundance Film Festival, serve as platforms for filmmakers to debut their movies to a select audience of industry professionals, critics, and avid film enthusiasts. Movie reviews often emerge from these festivals, providing early insights into the quality and potential of the films. These reviews can significantly impact the buzz around a movie and influence audience expectations.

Embargo Dates

Embargo dates are set by film studios and distributors to control the release of movie reviews to the public. These dates serve as a way to strategically manage the timing of reviews and ensure maximum exposure for a film. Reviewers and critics receive advanced screenings of the movie but are required to withhold their reviews until the embargo date. This tactic allows studios to build anticipation and generate buzz leading up to the release, while also giving them control over the narrative surrounding the film.

Social Media Reactions

In today’s digital age, the influence of social media cannot be underestimated. Social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, have become breeding grounds for immediate reactions to movies. Audiences, celebrities, and even critics take to these platforms to share their thoughts and opinions soon after watching a film. Social media reactions can create a buzz around a movie and can sometimes act as a form of unofficial reviews. Studio marketing teams monitor and leverage these reactions to generate hype and momentum for a film’s release.

Advertisement Campaigns

Movie advertisement campaigns are carefully crafted to create awareness and generate interest among potential viewers. These campaigns often include trailers, posters, and promotional events. The timing of review publications can be aligned with these campaigns to maximize their impact. Positive reviews published just before or during the release of a film can act as additional endorsements and encourage audiences to watch the movie. Conversely, negative reviews can have a detrimental effect on a film’s marketing efforts.

Advance Screenings

Advance screenings are special screenings arranged by studios and distributors for select audiences, such as critics, industry professionals, or loyal fans. These screenings not only provide a sneak peek into the movie but also generate early reviews and buzz. Reviewers attending advance screenings can publish their reviews ahead of the official release date, influencing audience perception and overall anticipation.

When Are Movie Reviews Typically Published Relative To The Release Date?

The Role of Film Festivals in Movie Reviews

Major Film Festivals

Film festivals serve as an important platform for filmmakers to showcase their works to a wider audience. The most prestigious festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, attract attention from critics, industry professionals, and cinema enthusiasts worldwide. Premiering a film at these festivals can generate substantial buzz and media coverage. As a result, movie reviews from these festivals hold significant weight and can influence release dates and audience perceptions of a film.

Critics’ Reviews at Film Festivals

Film festivals provide critics with exclusive opportunities to watch and review movies before their official release. Their reviews from these festivals often carry more weight than general film reviews due to the credibility and expertise of the critics attending. Positive reviews can generate early buzz and positive word-of-mouth, leading to increased interest in the film. On the other hand, negative reviews can hinder a film’s prospects, sometimes leading to the reevaluation of a release strategy.

The Impact of Film Festival Reviews on Release Dates

Film festival reviews can significantly impact the release strategy of a movie. Positive reviews often result in distributors fast-tracking the film’s release to capitalize on the buzz and positive reception. Conversely, negative reviews may lead to a film being held back or reworked before its wider release to address any identified issues. Film festival reviews serve as crucial indicators for filmmakers and distributors, shaping their plans for marketing, distribution, and audience outreach.

Embargo Dates and the Review Release Strategy

What is an Embargo Date?

Embargo dates are specific dates set by film studios and distributors that restrict the release of movie reviews until a specified time. Reviewers and critics are often granted access to watch the movie before the general public, but they are contractually bound not to publish their reviews until the embargo date. This strategy allows studios to control the narrative around a film and build anticipation and excitement leading up to its release.

Reasons for Imposing Embargo Dates

Embargo dates serve several purposes for studios and distributors. Firstly, they provide an opportunity to orchestrate a well-coordinated marketing campaign. By carefully planning the release of trailers, posters, and promotional events alongside review publications, studios can create a synchronized and impactful marketing strategy. Embargo dates also allow studios to gauge the initial critical response to a film and adjust their marketing and distribution plans accordingly.

Effects of Embargo Dates on Review Timing

Embargo dates often result in movie reviews being published closer to the release date. This compressed timeline between review publication and release allows for maximum impact and exposure. Studios strategically time the lifting of the embargo to coincide with the peak of their marketing campaign, ensuring that positive reviews and buzz generate public interest and drive ticket sales. However, this can sometimes lead to a limited window for critical analysis and a rush to meet quick turnaround deadlines.

When Are Movie Reviews Typically Published Relative To The Release Date?

Social Media Reactions and Their Influence on Movie Reviews

The Rise of Social Media Reactions

Social media platforms have revolutionized the way we communicate and share our thoughts. With the advent of platforms like Twitter, the process of reviewing and reacting to movies has become immediate and widespread. Audiences, celebrities, and even critics take to social media to share their opinions, reactions, and excitement about recently watched films. Their posts can create buzz or generate conversations around a movie, and sometimes, these reactions can be influential in shaping overall audience perception.

Impact on Review Publishing Timing

Social media reactions can often precede formal movie reviews. As audiences watch advance screenings or early premieres, they share their immediate thoughts and reactions online. These snippets of information, in the form of tweets or posts, contribute to the overall discourse and hype around a movie. Some studios strategically time their marketing campaigns to coincide with influential social media reactions, leveraging the power of viral posts to generate interest and anticipation.

Potential Bias in Social Media Reactions

While social media reactions can provide valuable insights into audience sentiment, it is important to consider the potential bias and lack of critical analysis in these posts. Social media platforms tend to prioritize brevity, making it challenging to convey nuanced opinions. Additionally, viral reactions can be influenced by factors like fan culture, personal biases, or even promotional strategies. It is crucial to approach social media reactions with a discerning eye and consider them as a part of the larger conversation surrounding a movie.

The Relationship Between Advertisement Campaigns and Movie Reviews

The Marketing Strategy of Movie Advertisements

Movie advertisements play a pivotal role in creating awareness and generating interest among potential viewers. Studio marketing teams strategically plan the release of trailers, posters, and other promotional materials to build anticipation leading up to a film’s release. These campaigns aim to capture the attention of the target audience and pique their curiosity. The timing of review publications can be aligned with the marketing strategy to enhance its impact and further engage audiences.

Reviewers and Early Screenings

Critics and reviewers are often given access to early screenings of movies to enable them to write informed reviews. These advance screenings allow reviewers to watch the movie before the general public and critically analyze its various aspects. By attending these screenings, reviewers can publish their reviews closer to the film’s release date, ensuring maximum relevance and impact.

Timing of Review Publications

The timing of movie review publications can be influenced by the broader marketing and advertising strategy of a film. Studios may strategically time the release of early reviews to coincide with the peak of their advertising campaign. Positive reviews published just before or during a film’s release can act as additional endorsements and contribute to the overall hype and excitement among audiences. Conversely, negative reviews can pose challenges to a film’s marketing efforts and may require course corrections in the advertising strategy.

When Are Movie Reviews Typically Published Relative To The Release Date?

Advance Screenings and Their Impact on Review Timing

Importance of Advance Screenings

Advance screenings play a crucial role in generating buzz and creating early feedback loops within the film industry. By inviting critics, industry professionals, or selected fans to watch a film before its official release, studios can gauge initial reactions and collect valuable feedback. These advance screenings allow for necessary adjustments in marketing, distribution, and even editing to enhance the film’s prospects.

Review Embargoes for Advance Screenings

Embargoes are commonly imposed on reviews from advance screenings to ensure that studios have control over the narrative surrounding a film. By setting an embargo date after the advance screening, studios can manage the timing of review publications and build anticipation. The strategic lifting of embargoes can align with the broader marketing strategy, allowing for a well-coordinated release of early reviews alongside promotional activities.

Distribution to Critics

Studios often distribute advance screening invitations selectively to critics and reviewers whose opinions hold weight within the industry. By providing access to films before their official release, studios hope to generate positive reviews that can influence audience perception and generate buzz. The relationship between studios and critics is symbiotic, with studios relying on positive reviews to drive box office success, and critics seeking exclusive access to films to enhance their reputations and influence.

The Significance of Opening Night Reviews

Why Opening Night Reviews Matter

Opening night reviews hold significant weight in the film industry. They provide the first critical assessment of a film’s overall quality, performance, and appeal. Reviews published on opening night often set the tone for the subsequent critical discourse and can influence the initial box office performance of a movie. The opinions of influential critics and their evaluations can shape audience expectations and determine the success or failure of a film’s theatrical run.

The Influence on Box Office Success

The impact of opening night reviews on a film’s box office success cannot be underestimated. Positive reviews can generate Word-of-Mouth (WOM) recommendations, encouraging viewers to watch the film and contributing to its commercial success. Conversely, negative reviews can dissuade audiences from spending their time and money on a movie, ultimately affecting box office revenues. Opening night reviews can significantly influence the crucial first days and weeks of a film’s release, setting the trajectory for its financial performance.

Critics’ Perspectives

For film critics, opening night reviews offer the opportunity to present their analysis and opinions to a wide audience. These reviews allow critics to express their insights and evaluations, contributing to the broader conversation surrounding a film. By publishing their thoughts on opening night, critics aim to influence public discourse, provide guidance to moviegoers, and offer valuable insights into the artistic, technical, and narrative aspects of a film.

The Influence of Review Timing on Audience Perception and Box Office Performance

The Hype Effect

Review timing has a significant impact on the overall hype surrounding a film. Positive reviews published in anticipation of a movie’s release can create a sense of excitement and build anticipation among audiences. The “hype effect” generated by early positive reviews can lead to increased ticket sales and audience engagement. On the other hand, negative reviews published early on can dampen the hype and result in lower box office numbers.

Box Office Success and Review Timing

The timing of movie reviews can directly affect a film’s box office performance. Positive reviews published closer to the release date can create a last-minute surge in audience interest and ultimately contribute to higher ticket sales. Alternatively, negative reviews published shortly before the release can discourage potential viewers from watching the film, leading to a decline in box office revenue. Review timing, therefore, plays a crucial role in shaping audience perception and influencing their decision to watch a film.

Audience Anticipation and Expectations

Movie reviews have the power to shape audience anticipation and expectations. Positive reviews generate excitement and heightened anticipation for a film, raising audience expectations in terms of quality and entertainment value. Conversely, negative reviews can lower audience expectations and result in reduced interest in a movie. The timing of reviews, whether they come out before or after a film’s release, can significantly impact audience perception and shape their decision to watch a film.


The timing of movie reviews is influenced by various factors, including film festival premieres, embargo dates, social media reactions, advertisement campaigns, and advance screenings. These factors, in turn, impact audience perception, box office performance, and the overall success of a film. By strategically managing the timing of reviews, studios and distributors can generate buzz, control the narrative, and maximize the impact of their marketing efforts. As audiences, we must be aware of these influences and approach movie reviews with a discerning eye, understanding that they are part of a broader ecosystem that shapes our cinematic experiences.

About the author

Latest posts