A little over a week before it’s scheduled to finally hit theaters, the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending just had its first public showing, the latest in a series of not-great omens for the Warner Bros. sci-fi movie. That showing took the form of a secret screening at the Sundance Film Festival, a tradition that last year saw the U.S. debut of Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1. Critics were not invited to the screening, and neither the directors nor star Channing Tatum showed up to Park City to support the film.
Perhaps predictably for a festival that still likes to consider itself “indie” even though it has an “Arts And Cinema Centre” sponsored by a hookup app, viewers who attended the screening were eager to dismiss the $175 million potential blockbuster. Variety quotes one festival volunteer who says she “hated it” and “it’s just ridiculous,” and reports that the audience declined to clap at the end of the film. (Maybe they were just stunned into silence by Tatum’s makeup.) Screenwriter Neville Kiser was slightly more generous, saying, “I actually liked it…There were so many people in the audience scoffing and sneering. They are forgetting they are watching a movie targeted primarily to teenage boys. I’m sure those 15-year-old boys, and hopefully girls, will like it.”