Times of India Breaks Embargo with "Underworld: Awakening" Review

Screen Gems decided not to screen “Underworld: Awakening,” the fourth installment of the vampire series starring Kate Beckinsale, for critics in the U.S. The previous three films scored 30%, 16%, and 31% respectively on the Tomatometer, so they figured why harmed the film’s grosses this weekend with what will probably be bad reviews for the latest film.

Apparently, critics overseas have seen it. I spotted one from a UK critic on Rotten Tomatoes that didn’t like the film. The review disappeared yesterday, so I’m guessing Screen Gems probably told the critic to take it down. There might be an embargo barring oversea critics from posting their reviews online until Friday.

Underworld: Awakening

Today, I spotted another review from Renuka Vyavahare of Times of India. “If you like video game-esque action, blood and gore, gothic fiction this is your film,” she says. Overall, it’s a solid endorsement. That’s why Screen Gems isn’t forcing her to take it down.

In “Underworld: Awakening,” ass-kicking vampire Selene escapes from prison only to find that the human race is trying rid the world of both vampires and werewolves. Kate Beckinsale returns after taking a break from the previous film. This installment is also presented in 3D; all that means is that you’ll be paying more money to see it.

The “Underworld” series is a reliable franchise for Screen Gems. Each of the previous three films gross around $50 domestically and about the same overseas. In total, the previous three films gross about $300M internationally.

They’re consistent, but couldn’t break out into a wider audience like their other horror-action mix “Resident Evil.” Although each of the “Resident Evil” movies had also grossed in the $50M range, they have done incrementally better with each film overseas. The fourth film “Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D” did $236M overseas, that’s four times what it did in the States. (A teaser for the fifth film “Resident Evil: Retribution” was just released today.)

Screen Gems is hoping that the 3D addition to the title would do the same for “Underworld: Awakening”’s foreign business. We shall see.

UPDATE 1/20: Reviews are finally flowing into Rotten Tomatoes for "Underworld: Awakening," although most are from onliners so far. It currently has a 27% reading on the Tomatometer after 22 reviews.

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