Were you hoping to avoid the clamoring cinema throngs by simply pirating a copy of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens? It's okay, you don't have to admit it publicly, but let me just tell you that if that is your plan, you might have a bit of a challenge on your hands.
So far, the marketing and pre-release campaign for Star Wars: Episode VII has been ran with a military precision that would make Emperor Palpatine proud, and that includes Disney's anti-piracy and anti-spoiler strategy.
The end of the year is traditionally the start of Oscar buzz season, the four to five month period in which studios begin to fire off screeners of their films for award consideration. Invariably, these high-quality streamers often make their way online, despite most of them featuring a watermark designed to identify individual leakers. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, however, will side-step this issue by not sending out any screeners ahead of its launch.
So far 'Star Wars: Episode VII's' marketing strategy revolves around the careful releasing of trailers and teasers. Check out the latest TV spot below:
Unfortunately, this means The Force Awakens will not be illegible for any of the early award ceremonies which mark the start of Oscar season, including the National Board of Review’s Best Film Honors, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Honors and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Of course, this isn't a huge issue for Disney. Firstly, Star Wars was unlikely to win many, or indeed any, of the awards from these ceremonies (as they traditionally favor less mainstream fair), while secondly, few Star Wars fans will pay much heed to critic reviews or award nominations anyway. As Marshall Fine, chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, stated:
No one who is thinking about seeing Star Wars is waiting for the critics to weigh in on this film, whether with awards or with reviews, to decide whether to buy a ticket. This movie won’t need awards to draw a crowd.
Films not being released for critical or award consideration is usually a bad omen, as it suggests the studio does not have faith in the finished product. However, this is clearly not the case for Star Wars. Disney know they have created an almost unheard of amount of hype for Star Wars, with the deliberate retention of information actually driving excitement rather than limiting it.
At this point, releasing screeners could seem like more of a risk than a benefit for Disney.