That's a pretty serious charge, especially made by a reporter who did not call us to get his facts, so to speak, straight. First of all, to the charge of "hiding" the film (for which, given its post-production schedule, we have only had finished prints at hand for a couple of weeks - a fact conveniently missed by your reporter), I can only say that I happen to be writing this while on my way to the airport for a flight to San Francisco, where we shall world-premiere the film tonight at the Castro Theatre, across the street from the storefront where Harvey began his political career. [...] The after-screening gathering will be held at San Francisco's City Hall, and today has been proclaimed "Focus Features Day" by the Mayor – who clearly didn't get The Hollywood Reporter in time to understand our underhanded, apolitical approach to marketing the film. [...] Following the debut of that trailer way back on September 12, our marketing campaign mobilized an early online media push timed to all four presidential race debates –- the mornings after, we had specially commissioned Milk ad buys on the political pages of the websites of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Huffington Post, and many more. [...] I expect that more thorough journalism on our Milk campaign will be published in THR soon.By the time Schamus had dashed off his signature, though, the damage was done. The new-and-improved Radar had distilled the story (without attribution) to "Milk will seem a bit too politcal and preachy," while our cousins at Gawker surmised that "Milk just isn't very good. [...] [W]hen a studio declares it must be very, very quiet in promoting a film, it pushes us toward another conclusion: Milk is going to be so bad Sean Penn won't have a chance at Oscar time no matter how many full page ads Focus runs." Classy, guys. Of course, Focus didn't declare that, and the author hadn't viewed Milk either. David Poland did last night, however, filing afterward that it's "a brilliant, powerfully humane piece of work that reaches well beyond the issue of gay rights or any idea that this is a gay-only film." We don't necessarily think all of America might see it that way, but we'd expect professionals with access to have the good sense not to make it worse. Alas. Next time, THR!
- Schamus defends 'Milk' plan [eugonline]