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I was recently looking up information on a Joe Wright film I was interested in, The Woman in the Window, as I was wondering why there hasn't been a trailer, and I swore I once read that the film was suppose to be out sometime this year.

As the Wikipedia page for the film states, it was pushed back to 2020 by Disney, who now has the rights of former FOX 2000 label.

The film was originally scheduled to be released on October 4, 2019, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. However, on July 9, it was pushed back sometime in 2020 as Disney plans to retool the film due to the negative test audience response towards the third act.

It will be the final film released under the Fox 2000 label; as part of The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the label will be discontinued.

But it also states that the reason they did this was because Disney's test audience didn't respond well to the third act of the film. Now Joe Wright isn't a director I would imagine Disney would have ever hired, if this wouldn't have been apart of the Fox deal, as he is a very visual film-maker whose adult stories often have twists or end rather dramatically.

So all of this made me wonder: How much control does any production company have over their test audience? Do they sometimes select people who meet certain criteria, that could in some way procure their own brand? Do they ever essentially choose their test audience?

(In other words: Was it really that Joe Wright's third act was bad, or was it that it wasn't a Disney-friendly film and they're aiming to find ways to bend it to their will now that they own it?)

  • Just as note and it's not the same thing, from working over at Spoiler TV we were more recently starting to get a lot of screeners from the Networks, until big leaks happened this past spring. Now we only get a handful. Sure, we're not a test audience, since we preview and review episodes of TV series, but not all of the sites got this same treatment, as big long-standing media sites like Variety are still getting their screeners, so it's been about credibility vs time. And it shows how the TV networks have some control over this marketing practice. – Darth Locke Aug 8 at 13:02
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Preview audiences are selected from a cross-section of the population, and are usually asked to complete a questionnaire or provide feedback in some form.

This Wikipedia article provides information, that the audience is a cross-section of the population. So they are chosen based on their profiles to reflect the population in the best way. Selecting a narrow group would not show the production company how the whole world would react to the movie. They select the group to be as diverse as possible, from the people who signed up to be test viewers.

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    Well, not necessarily as diverse as possible, but as diverse as possible inside the target demographic, which would be chosen beforehand. – Kakturus Aug 8 at 14:49

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