The review embargo for Avengers: Endgame is surprisingly close to theatrical release - but that's not a bad thing. It's often assumed late review embargoes are a bad sign for a film; they tend to indicate that a studio isn't confident their film will receive a good reception from critics, and are thus attempting to ensure negative reviews have a minimal impact on the opening weekend.
But Marvel Studios nor their fans don't really have any reason to worry. If any film was going to be critic-proof, it's Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of over a decade's worth of blockbuster hits. The film was reportedly well-received by test audiences, and it's projected to shatter the all-time worldwide opening weekend record by bringing in more than $800 million in its debut. In a year packed full of event movies like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, and The Lion King, this is potentially the biggest beast of them all. Which begs the question why, three days before the first US screenings, Marvel has kept the review embargo so close to theatrical release.
The simplest reason is that Marvel doesn't want any spoilers out there. They've kept the plot of Avengers: Endgame under wraps, conducting a carefully-orchestrated marketing campaign that drip-feeds information and avoids explaining the overarching story. At one point Kevin Feige was even suggesting that footage in trailers and TV spots would all be drawn from the first 15-20 minutes of the film; he was clearly exaggerating, but the fact remains that Marvel do not want viewers to be spoiled about this film - something that an early review embargo lift would, even with critics keeping the secrets, be risky.
This is hardly unprecedented. Indeed, Marvel followed pretty much the same approach with last year's Avengers: Infinity War. The World Premiere in Los Angeles, the first screening, was on Monday April 23, 2018; the review embargo didn't lift until the next day, just four days before theatrical release (and three before previews). This seems to be becoming the new normal for Marvel, with Captain Marvel's embargo set at just two days before the film went public as well. This is a sure-fire way to ensure even overzealous critics won't spoil a movie.
In the case of Avengers: Endgame, the level of secrecy is pretty remarkable considering Marvel hasn't pulled any punches when it comes to marketing; the promotional campaign is estimated to cost $200 million. This is $50 million more than they spent on Avengers: Infinity War, and has been achieved by expanding narrowly targeted ads. Marvel has used this to increase the number of demographic groups they reach, while carefully controlling the information that goes public.
When the review embargo is lifted, though, the studio lose an element of their control over this process, because it becomes harder for Marvel to predict just how much a specific viewer knows. Keeping the review embargo so close to theatrical release therefore means targeted ads remain far more effective - and Avengers: Endgame's box office triumph becomes an increasingly sure thing.
Rest assured, Screen Rant won't post any Avengers: Endgame spoilers pre-release, and any post-release spoiler discussions will be clearly marked.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019