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[[quoteright:259:[[Webcomic/PennyArcade http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/PennyArcade_critics_cropped_6244.png]]]]

->''"We'd love to tell you more about this one, but it doesn't screen for critics until later in the week, which is never a good sign."''
-->-- ''Website/RottenTomatoes'', on the [[http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hansel_and_gretel_witch_hunters/news/1926713/parental_guidance_hansel_and_gretel_witch_hunters/ quality]] of ''Film/HanselAndGretelWitchHunters''.

So it's Friday, and you're considering seeing this new movie that has just Opened In Theaters Everywhere. Before you do, you grab a copy of today's newspaper, and turn to the movie section, looking for a review. Or you check a site like Website/RottenTomatoes or Metacritic to get both their combined metascore and the reviews that come with it.

Instead of a review, you read a notice stating that the film was "not screened for critics." The review compilation sites also have very few reviews and can't compute a review score from it. This is almost always a big warning sign about the quality of the movie. Under normal circumstances, the reviewers would have seen the film already on DVD "screeners" or private showings, and would have had plenty of time to write witty, biting criticism (or just plain vituperation) that ''would have'' completely eviscerated it. The general indication is that the studio doesn't want people to be warned away from the movie prior to opening day.

Another tactic by studios is to allow critics to see a preview screening... with a bunch of contest winners, so that instead of being able to make notes and review a film in a quiet theater or purpose-built screening room, the critic has to do it in a crowded megaplex with people who probably wouldn't have seen the movie at all if they hadn't won free tickets and will probably like it only because they didn't have to pay to see it. Films aimed at kids and teenagers might get a rowdy and rambunctious audience throughout the entire film (worse if it features the TeenIdol of the moment). One of the actors or producers may even make a "[[DullSurprise surprise]]" personal appearance, taking away any sense of a neutral setting (are you going to tell them their film is awful in person?). Many critics thus will easily not take the bait and stay away in droves for their sanity.

This tends to happen a lot during the months of January, February, and late August - the traditional DumpMonths where all the movies in which the studio no longer has faith but which it is contractually obligated to release get dumped, leaving the good months for {{Summer Blockbuster}}s and OscarBait.

This happens with video games as well; most prominent review outlets tend to get copies of games early, and it's telling what the publisher thinks of a game if a website like IGN or Gamespot have to purchase the game themselves on release day. Happens less with big budget games, since they are often cushioned by months of positive preview coverage[[note]]Negative preview coverage is rarer in video games because publishers have more methods of controlling the message than movies do, due to the difference in mediums[[/note]] that have convinced many to preorder the game before reviews are even a factor.

Television is also an area where this occurs - preview [=DVDs=] (formerly tapes) are sent to reviewers so they can write their reviews. Where this does not occur, it is for three reasons:
* It's rubbish.
* It's recorded very close to transmission or is a live broadcast.
* The episode is [[WhamEpisode that dramatic with a massive twist]], that the producers don't want to give the game away.

The number of preview [=DVDs=] being sent out is also slowly decreasing overall, as studios have finally realized where all those pre-theatrical-release DVD rips of blockbusters floating around the internet actually come from. However, this doesn't mean previews stop being sent altogether, just that fewer reviewers are trusted with copies. TV networks also screen their programs over the internet on password-protected sites for critics, although this can also be discouraging (any television critic can tell you that they'd rather do anything else than watch a program on the infamously glitchy Creator/{{ABC}} [=MediaNet=] site).

Of course, on the other hand, small press, indie and underground works ''usually'' don't send out review copies, as they tend to be much less concerned with promotion or mainstream opinion; most big name news sources don't care much to review obscure works anyway.

Compare ItsNotSupposedToWinOscars.


* Creator/SeltzerAndFriedberg's spoofs ''Date Movie'', ''Epic Movie'', ''Meet the Spartans'', and ''Disaster Movie'' all fit this trope.
* ''Film/TheAvengers1998''. The studio even claimed it was putting the film out without previews not because it was awful, but because the studio wanted the public and press to "discover the film together". This backfired when the movie turned into one of the biggest bombs of 1998 and sunk the careers of director Jeremiah Checkik and Uma Thurman ([[CareerResurrection the latter of whom bounced back later]]).
* ''Film/SnakesOnAPlane''. They may have skipped screening it based on the logic that next to nobody walking into that theater is going to be swayed by a review. That and [[BMovie the concept itself]] is anathema for any professional reviewer, ensuring that a majority of critics will give it a negative review. Somehow, ''Snakes on a Plane'' still managed to get a "Fresh" rating on Rottentomatoes.com, even before the "WTF... this is so dumb" word of mouth came in. A possible case of HoistByHisOwnPetard. Some critics actually embraced the film, but since they could not spread the word-of-mouth to the uninitiated because of the lack of pre-screening, people on the fence stayed hesitant and ''Snakes'' wound up scoring way less at the box office than what the viral buzz indicated.
* Many {{Gorn}} genre flicks fall into this, including the ''Franchise/{{Saw}}'' franchise, which notably stayed off Richard Roeper's "Worst Movies of 2007" list specifically because of this and the fact that he didn't want to watch them in his free time.
%%* Neither ''Film/AVPAlienVsPredator'' or ''Film/AliensVsPredatorRequiem'' were screened for critics.
%%* None of Uwe Boll's films have been screened for critics.
%%* None of the ''Film/AtlasShrugged'' movies were screened for critics.
* The ''Film/AeonFlux'' movie. Peter Chung, creator of the original ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' TV show, once claimed to have felt "helpless, humiliated, and sad" upon seeing the film adaptation of his work. Apparently, this movie wasn't even screened for ''him'' (his sole allowed contribution was a single hour-and-a-half meeting with the people writing/directing it).
%%* The ''Film/{{Eragon}}'' movie.
* Creator/AlfredHitchcock didn't want any critic to see ''Film/{{Psycho}}'', not because of any worry of quality, but because he didn't want the Plot Twist to leak out. TropesAreNotBad, indeed. And no, that wasn't just his cover story. He actually bought up hundreds of copies of the source novel out of his own pocket, for the same reason.
* ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/24/ parodied this]] when Creator/KevinSmith claimed that his movie ''Film/JerseyGirl'' wasn't "for critics". In response, Gabe and Tycho created ''Twisp & Catsby'', an aristocratic cat and a demon (yes, respectively) who starred in [[DadaComics completely nonsensical adventures]], concluding the first strip with the panel above. The full quote ([[BeamMeUpScotty which is often forgotten]]) goes on to say that it wasn't "for critics", it was for his ''daughter'', the person he made the movie for ([[SarcasmMode apparently he gave it a wide theatrical release by ''accident'']]). Ironically, Twisp & Catsby have become [[EnsembleDarkhorse huge fan favorites]] and iconic characters of the comics. And on another ironic note, they would later semi-defend another such incident (with ''Videogame/{{DOOM 2016}}'') in which the game actually turned out well:
-->'''Tycho:''' ''"Maybe they didn't feel like giving their retro shooter to a [[TakeThat coven of millennials]] so they could use it to [[AuthorFilibuster make tough points about fracking]]"''
* The 2008 comedy ''Film/AnAmericanCarol'', about a [[StrawmanPolitical version]] of [[Creator/MichaelMoore a certain well-known leftist filmmaker]] being taught to appreciate America after being visited by three ghosts, went unscreened by critics, as its creators claimed it was too conservative for them to appreciate/approve of. Leading some critics to still see it and claim that politics aside, it was just ''bad''. It subsequently put the career of helmer David Zucker in a grave; he has yet to direct another film and didn't get another credit period until ''Scary Movie 5'', which was ''also'' not screened for critics either.
* Creator/TylerPerry never screens most of his films for critics. That said, his adaptation of ''Theatre/ForColoredGirls'' is one of the few exceptions in that regard.
* The 2010 action-comedy ''Film/{{Killers}}'' was subject to this trope.
* ''Film/StreetFighterTheLegendOfChunLi'' was one of those movies that wasn't screened for critics. It got an even worse reception from both them and [[VideoGameMoviesSuck video gamers]] than the previous attempt with Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1994, and became a BoxOfficeBomb.
* ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'' was not screened for critics. Its sequel, ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'', wasn't screened for critics either. They had this to say on the matter:
-->"After [[CriticalDissonance the chasm we experienced]] with ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'' between the response of audiences and critics, we chose to forgo opening-day print and broadcast reviews as a strategy to promote 'G.I. Joe.' We want audiences to define this film."
%%* ''Film/TheOmegaCode''
* ''Film/TheWickerMan2006'', due to the film turning out to be total {{Narm}}. They mocked and laughed at it and director Neil Labute when they '''were''' able to review it, with Richard Roeper almost recommending it for being a "cinematic car wreck".
* Bizarrely averted with the ''Film/{{Bratz}}'' movie which, surprisingly, '''was''' screened for critics, despite what people expected. The result was what you'd think it was.
* 2002's ''Film/TheAdventuresOfPlutoNash'' may well have been the genesis of the current trend towards shutting out advance review of particularly heinous filmmaking. ''Pluto'' ended up becoming the biggest OldShame for Creator/EddieMurphy, and it was one of the three 2002 films he did that put his career in a bad spot.
* ''Film/Piranha3D'' was not screened to critics in advance. However, it ended up being the [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative best-reviewed movie the week it was released]], with a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.
* The 2011 "comedy" film ''Film/BuckyLarsonBornToBeAStar'' was never screened for critics because everybody knew it was going to be a catastrophe. Swardson himself [[CreatorBacklash would disown the negative reception]].
* ''Film/ResidentEvilAfterlife'' was not screened for critics before being released (the first three movies were ripped apart by critics, with parts 1 and 2 both making Creator/RogerEbert's [[RogerEbertMostHatedFilmList most hated movie list]]; he never reviewed any of the films after those).
* ''Film/{{Quarantine}}'' and ''Film/{{Devil}}'', which both had the same director, were not screened for critics, but were met with mixed reviews as opposed to universally negative ones.
* The Creator/GwynethPaltrow film ''Film/CountryStrong''. Bizarrely enough, it also happened to be an OscarBait film.
* ''Film/TheAmityvilleHorror2005'' wasn't screened for critics. It was featured on ''[[Series/SiskelAndEbert Ebert & Roeper]]'' in the then-new "[[FingerWag Wagging Finger of Shame]]" segment, given to movies that weren't available to review.
%%* ''Film/SpyKids: All The Time in the World''.
%%* ''Film/{{Apollo 18}}'' and ''SharkNight'', both of which opened on the same weekend.
* ''Film/{{Abduction}}''. It was screened to Australian critics though, with said critics roundly trashing it.
%%* ''[[Film/PromNight2008 Prom Night]]'' (2008)
%%* ''Film/DreamHouse''.
%%* ''Film/DriveAngry''.
%%* The 2011 version of ''[[Film/TheThreeMusketeers2011 The Three Musketeers]]''.
* ''Film/SuckerPunch'' was not shown to critics in advance, in spite of the film becoming a CultClassic afterwards.
%%* ''Film/SeasonOfTheWitch''.
* The Roberto Benigni version of ''Film/{{Pinocchio}}'' (2002) was this in the States. Miramax's explanation for this (according to the Other Wiki) was that the English-language dubbing for it wasn't completed in time for advance screenings. Critics who saw it gave it vitriolic reviews. The subtitled version (which was given a limited release two months later) was better received though.
%%* ''Film/{{Ultraviolet}}''
%%* ''Film/{{Immortals}}''
%%* ''Film/BabylonAD''
%%* ''Film/TheDarkestHour''
%%* ''Film/{{Gone}}''
* ''Film/OneMissedCall'', which ended up getting a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
* ''Film/GhostRiderSpiritOfVengeance'', which ultimately did not fare well enough to keep ''Ghost Rider'' rights from falling back into Marvel's hands. It subsequently killed the Marvel Knights label.
* Political documentaries aimed towards conservative audiences (''The Undefeated'', ''I Want Your Money'', ''2016: Obama's America'') tend not to be screened to critics, and if they are screened in advance, usually to small and controlled settings such as a church auditorium or a bought-out theater. The filmmakers or production companies likely do this for similar reasons that ''An American Carol'' wasn't.
** The vast majority of documentaries are never screened for critics simply because they tend to have no studio backing, which keeps them out of the larger theater chains and off the radar of mainstream critics to begin with.
%%* ''Film/ChernobylDiaries''
%%* ''Film/TheApparition''
%%* ''Film/HouseAtTheEndOfTheStreet''
%%* ''Film/SilentHillRevelation3D''
%%* ''Film/TexasChainsaw3D''
%%* Neither of the ''Film/AHauntedHouse'' films were screened for critics.
%%* ''Film/HanselAndGretelWitchHunters''
* ''Film/Movie43'' was not screened for critics, though they bashed it nonetheless, with Richard Roeper, in a guest review for Roger Ebert's website, calling it "the ''Film/CitizenKane'' of awful"; it went on to win the Worst Picture of 2013 UsefulNotes/GoldenRaspberryAward.
* ''WesternAnimation/EscapeFromPlanetEarth'' wasn't screened for critics. It's yet another bomb from Creator/TheWeinsteinCompany's family division, Kaleidoscope.
%%* ''Film/DarkSkies''
%%* ''[[Film/TheLastExorcism The Last Exorcism Part II]]''
* ''Film/SupermanIVTheQuestForPeace'' was not screened for critics in New York City, and holds a reputation for one of the worst movies in both the series and the genre. It didn't help that one of the film's stars, Jon Cryer, said that the film wasn't finished. It [[FranchiseKiller sent the Superman film series to the]] PhantomZone for two decades, eventually requiring a [[Film/ManOfSteel reboot in 2013]] to rescue it from that realm, plus it's one of the films to blast apart The Cannon Group and the career of one of its actors.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' not being screened for critics was one reason it [[AcclaimedFlop flopped despite generally positive reception]], though it was later [[VindicatedByCable Vindicated by VHS]].
* ''Film/{{RIPD}}'', one of the most expensive movies to not be screened for critics; it subsequently flopped with both them and the box office and, along with Creator/DreamWorksAnimation's ''WesternAnimation/{{Turbo}}'', sent star Ryan Reynolds's career [[StarDerailingRole to the graveyard]]. [[{{Film/Deadpool}} It got better]], [[CareerResurrection though.]]
%%* ''Film/TheLegendOfHercules''
%%* ''Film/IFrankenstein''
* ''Film/VampireAcademy'', according to Wiki/ThatOtherWiki.
* ''Film/HighlanderEndgame''; the previous two attempts at a ''Highlander'' movie turned out two of the most infamous critical and commercial implosions in cinema history and were both Retconned. This one didn't fare any better and a 5th movie went Direct To Cable.
%%* ''Film/WalkOfShame''
* Since ''Series/MrsBrownsBoys'' was slated by every TV critic going, Brendan O'Carroll decided not to allow critics to see the movie before release.
* ''Film/{{Hercules 2014}}''. Ironically, the reviews were actually quite decent.
* ''Film/TwinPeaksFireWalkWithMe''. However, it did premiere at Cannes three months before release (where it was booed). It finished burning down the ''Twin Peaks'' TV franchise after the show's second season saw them get forced to resolve their Laura Palmer plotline because it wasn't handled properly (an experience that earned it a place in [[Literature/WhatWereTheyThinkingThe100DumbestEventsInTelevisionHistory David Hofstede's book listing the most infamous television events in history]].
* ''[[Film/NoGoodDeed2014 No Good Deed]]'', which was hidden from critics ostensibly to protect a major twist in the film. It was soundly bashed by critics upon release.
* The 2015 Creator/JohnnyDepp comedy ''Mortdecai'', which was part of a string of flops for him.
* ''Film/ExorcistTheBeginning'' had no preview screenings, which the studio tried to justify by accusing film critics of having already made up their minds to trash the film due to the controversy over original director Paul Schrader being fired and the film reshot from scratch by Creator/RennyHarlin. As it turned out, being accused of bias and ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch did ''not'' make the critics any more kindly disposed toward the film. The eventual release of Schrader's version also didn't get any critic screenings, though that had more to do with it being a token cinema release before it was dumped onto DVD.
* The ''Film/FantasticFour2015'' reboot is a ZigZagged example. The movie was screened for critics a mere two days before it was released in the United States. However, the movie was intended to be premiered in several regions before then - which did not have screenings for critics either. And then the international premieres were delayed until after the United States premiere, which essentially means that the movie was only screened for critics at the eleventh hour, at which point it might as well not have been screened for them at all. The online embargo lasted until two days before the release date and the print embargo lasted until the release date. The movie was unsurprisingly savaged by anyone who saw it, critic or not.
* The infamous 1967 version of ''[[Film/CasinoRoyale1967 Casino Royale]]'' invoked this trope due to it being a patchwork of scenes with 5 directors, and it unsurprisingly failed with critics and unleashed a lot of problems that didn't fully go away until 2013 (it also wrecked the careers of said directors, star Peter Sellers, and eventually led to the death of producer Charles Feldman when the stress of making the film developed into heart problems).
* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' sequel ''[[Film/TheForceAwakens Star Wars: The Force Awakens]]''. Disney claims that the reason is due to preventing spoilers from reaching the internet before the release date rather than quality reasons, which, given the franchise's prominence, is actually justified. And it worked. The premier was just four days before the full release. The film went on to earn a 93% "Certified Fresh" RT rating and become the highest grossing film of all time in North America.
* ''Film/{{Krampus}}'', ''Film/FrightNight2011'' and ''Film/PremiumRush'' were all subject to this, although they are examples of movies that, unlike most other films that aren't screened for critics, received mostly positive reviews.
* ''Film/BigMommasHouse 2'' wasn't screened for critics, but surprisingly did well at the box office despite being critically panned and gaining a Rotten Tomatoes score of 6%.
* ''Film/{{Rings}}'' was not screened for critics, in addition to having its release delayed multiple times. Unsurprisingly, when they finally did see it, it was widely panned, receiving only 5% on Rotten Tomatoes and 24 on Metacritic.
* ''Spark: A Space Tail'' was hit with this. Not only did it earn universally negative reviews from critics (although a Tomatometer took ''more than a few days'' to register thanks to it playing in only 365 theaters, and it took a while for a negative review mislabeled as "Fresh" to be correctly switched), it also wound up flopping epically, making only ''$112,633'' in its opening weekend.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheEmojiMovie'' was hit with this, with an embargo placed on all reviews until the film's release date. Given how the film has been [[SnarkBait widely mocked and criticized]] due to [[WereStillRelevantDammit its trendy subject matter]], [[AudienceAlienatingPremise idiotic premise]] and [[TaintedByThePreview wildly-disliked marketing and trailers]] prior to the film's release, it's not too surprising that [[Creator/SonyPicturesAnimation the studio]] tried to stave off the bad publicity for the film's opening weekend. If that was what they were trying to do, then needless to say it backfired ''spectacularly'', as the film quickly garnered [[MedalOfDishonor a 0% Tomatometer rating]] on Website/RottenTomatoes, which was later bumped up to a very paltry 9%. Sony even denied critics test screenings of the movie, just to be absolutely sure there were no bad reviews staving off profits on the opening weekend. Unfortunately for them, many theaters saw this as the writing on the wall, and released the film early anyway to try and recoup some of the money before the bad reviews caught up. [[GoneHorriblyWrong The end result was that critics got to watch and review the movie early anyway.]]
%%* ''Film/LetsBeCops''
* [=EuropaCorp=] USA didn't screen two of their films released in 2016, ''Film/NineLives2016'' and ''Film/ShutIn'', for critics. Both films were widely panned and were [[BoxOfficeBomb box office flops]].
* ''Film/WhenTheBoughBreaks'' was not screened for critics, and when they did see it, it was roundly panned for being a LifetimeMovieOfTheWeek that shouldn't have been released in theaters, with a 12% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
%% * ''Film/TheHouse''
%% * ''Film/AllEyezOnMe''
%% * ''Film/TheDisappointmentsRoom''
%% * ''Film/MaxSteel''
* ''Film/TheDarkTower'' wasn't screened for critics, which given all the other issues that we have heard about it, eventually didn't bode well.
* The 2017 sequel to ''Film/{{Flatliners}}'' wasn't screened for critics and when critics saw it, it eventually got a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes.
* Averted with the Creator/ParisHilton vehicle ''The Hottie and the Nottie'', which ''was'' screened for the press, though only one critic (James Berardinelli of Reelviews) actually bothered to show up for the screening and write a review.
* The Creator/BruceWillis sci-fi film ''Film/{{Surrogates}}'' was not screened for critics but did receive somewhat positive reviews.
* The Creator/KatherineHeigl film ''Film/OneForTheMoney'' wasn't screened for critics. It got near-universally negative reviews and [[BoxOfficeBomb poor box office intakes]], but received a much more enthusiastic response from audiences. The original writer of the novel the film was adapted from actually liked it.
* The horror film ''Film/{{Winchester}}'' was not screened for critics, and was panned by the few critics that did get to see it, with a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes from 8 reviews so far.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has at times not sent a DVD to reviewers, or omitted closing scenes, all cases being to avoid spoilers from leaking out.
** Apparently, the original preview of "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E13ThePartingOfTheWays The Parting of the Ways]]" hid the fact that [[spoiler: the Ninth Doctor would regenerate into the Tenth Doctor]] by displaying an alternate scene with the Doctor standing before a TARDIS monitor that more ambiguously read "LIFE FORM DYING". Yet the press still leaked the news about Creator/ChristopherEccleston's departure. This alleged cut has not been released to the public whatsoever, and took place in a time that predated the big boom of widely-available social media. All we have is WordOfGod to go by.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E12ArmyOfGhosts "Army of Ghosts"]] removed the ending shot of [[spoiler:the Daleks]]. The OnTheNext [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil trailer did spoil it]] via a special effects shot, however.
** One interesting example was [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E1PartnersInCrime "Partners in Crime"]], where the appearance of [[spoiler:Rose Tyler]] was removed from all the preview tapes and casting documents were altered to remove [[spoiler:Creator/BilliePiper]].
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E12TheStolenEarth "The Stolen Earth"]] is a highly notable "Last Scene Withheld Until Transmission" one: [[spoiler: The "regeneration" bit was not on them]].
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E17E18TheEndOfTime "The End of Time"]], Part One, the press copy was altered so it ended with [[spoiler:the six billion Masters laughing]], and not with [[spoiler:the Time Lords]]. Part Two wasn't even shown to the press: the script for the final three scenes wasn't shown to most of the cast.
** To quote the on-screen text on its not-previewed final scene, preview tapes of [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E13TheNameOfTheDoctor "The Name of the Doctor"]]" were not "[[spoiler:Introducing Creator/JohnHurt as the Doctor]]".
** The preview copies of "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E11DarkWater Dark Water]]" hid [[spoiler:TheReveal of Missy as the Master]]. In fact, to avoid a potential internet leak (following a fiasco where ''the first five episodes of Series 8'' had their work prints leak online), FoilerFootage was shot where she was [[TheUnreveal "revealed" as the Rani.]]
* The 2007/8 Writers' Strike meant that UK listing magazines couldn't review some Series/CSIVerse episodes as they hadn't even aired in the US.
* The producers of ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'' have been known to omit key scenes from reviewer screenings, to avoid twists leaking out. One of the last examples was the premiere of season 4.5, screened with its final scene, where [[spoiler: Col. Tigh realizes his deceased wife was a Cylon who he'd known on Earth in a past life]], left out.
* Creator/DanSchneider has used this to his benefit on ''Series/ICarly''. He managed to keep secret the cliffhanger ending to ''iOMG'' for what had to have been over a year by filming on a closed set with a minimum of cast and crew.
* Several car manufacturers have refused to lend the ''Series/TopGear'' team new cars to test.
** One of the most notable would be the City Rover, which still appeared on the show as James May went to the dealer for a test drive while wearing a hidden camera and microphone. It was, unsurprisingly, considered one of the worst cars they'd ever featured.
** A high contender would also be the American muscle car special, where the makers refused to loan the show a Dodge Challenger. They got around this obstacle by ''buying'' one, and Richard Hammond went on to give it an enthusiastic endorsement.
** It's alleged that the Dacia Sandero (a central European light SUV-type) was actually canceled for the UK market because ''TopGear'' spent an entire series mocking it regularly. Ironically when he got to test-drive one during the Romanian special, James May loved it. Also ironically, it had to be an abbreviated test because Clarkson and Hammond arranged to have the Sandero [[spoiler: smashed by a semi-truck]] hours after May got it.
** On one of the show's road trip specials, Bentley pulled their Mulsanne out at the last minute when they decided that the special's theme ("Ideal luxury cars for the leading lights of Albanian organized crime") was loaded with UnfortunateImplications. Since buying (and insuring) a Bentley of their own was well outside the budget, instead the part of the Bentley Mulsanne was played by an ''extremely'' used Yugo. This led to constant criticism from all three presenters about what a shoddy product Bentley is putting out these days.
** In a subversion, despite not only refusing to provide cars to the show, but also banning James May from entering the company premises, [[http://www.bristolcars.co.uk/ Bristol Cars]] are quite highly praised by the presenters even though it is far from what they normally prefer in a car.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Vivendi Universal Games refused to send ''Magazine/ElectronicGamingMonthly'' (EGM) a copy of their UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames game of]] TheFilmOfTheBook of ''Film/TheCatInTheHat''[[note]]which was already a flop with critics and audiences and caused Dr. Seuss' estate to prohibit any more {{live action adaptation}}s of his works[[/note]] because they "didn't want Creator/{{Seanbaby}} making fun of it." It didn't work, needless to say. After having to pay for a review copy, Seanbaby was all too pleased to lay into the game and its creators with his [[http://www.seanbaby.com/nes/issue176.htm most scathing reviews.]] It's also a form of InsultBackfire because Seanbaby's section at the time was called "Seanbaby's Rest of the Crap", with emphasis on "Crap" - it was, at the beginning and end of his run, his job to review the games that were so shitty that they actually merited their own scale because any review of it placed in the section for reviews proper would be "KillItWithFire"; so saying "We don't want Seanbaby to make fun of this game" is essentially saying "We're aware of how bad our game is, but are delusional enough to think we can fool people".
* Creator/{{Activision}} did not send any review copies of ''[[VideoGame/TonyHawksProSkater Tony Hawk: Ride]]'' prior to release. Instead, a weekend before release, they organized a Family Fun / Review Event, which, due to the obvious attempts at essentially bribing the reviewers, many reviewers such as [[http://www.gamespot.com/news/6240528.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=picks&tag=picks;story;5 [=GameSpot=]'s]] declined the invitation. They did something similar for ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare2'', but unlike ''Ride'', ''Modern Warfare 2'' was well received. It really didn't help that ''Ride'' was controlled by a clumsy skateboard peripheral which was savaged by most reviewers and buyers. The game now goes for a 75% discount of its original $120 sticker price in bargain bins everywhere.
** ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' had fun with this one, too, when Tony claimed that everyone who said bad things about ''Ride'' decided they hated it before they even bought it. [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/12/14/ Tycho]] [[SarcasmMode totally agreed that people tend to spend $120 on things they think they'll hate]].
** In an instance of [[HistoryRepeats history repeating itself]], no advance copies of ''Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5'' were sent to reviewers prior to release, for reasons [[ObviousBeta that quickly became obvious]] when the game was picked up by early adopters. [[note]]To say nothing of Activision releasing a day one patch that was ''more than 50% larger than the game itself.''[[/note]] It didn't help that the game [[TaintedByThePreview ever since it was first revealed]] had garnered a lot of criticism from fans, for what many perceived to be a general lack of gameplay polish and a low-budget presentation. The final result? The game was universally raked across the board by reviewers and players alike (especially so, considering how well-revered the original line of THPS titles were), and helped ensure the series [[FranchiseKiller would be taken off the rails for good]].
* Games magazine ''Magazine/AmigaPower'' had the frankly odd idea of using the whole percentage scale in their reviews and [[FourPointScale not just giving a game an 80% score for existing at all]]. This made them a number of enemies among other magazines and game publishers, who stopped sending them review copies.
* Square Enix did send out copies of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' to critics, but also asked them not to give out their reviews until they'd fixed some of the bugs before releasing it. Naturally, since the game was already on store shelves, most didn't feel like playing along and gave decidedly negative reviews, [[ObviousBeta and for good reasons]]. The game was so bad that Square Enix had no choice but to make the online subscription free until they fixed it, something that the new director, Yoshida, [[WinBackTheCrowd actually managed to do]] with ''A Realm Reborn'' (aka Final Fantasy XIV 2.0). It did take him 3 years though (the original director, Hiromichi Tanaka, [[CreatorKiller was]] [[YouHaveFailedMe terminated]] from Square Enix thanks to version 1.0).
* According to Metro's gaming supplement, Gamecentral, review copies of games often get "lost in the post." They become more wary of a game when this happens, since they are known as being among the more strict game reviewers.
* Rednar, the public relations firm for Creator/GearboxSoftware, threatened this in light of negative reviews for ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever''. [[LaserGuidedKarma Gearbox promptly fired them]].
* While [=Seven45=] Studios did send copies of ''VideoGame/PowerGigRiseOfTheSixString'' as well as their touted [=SixString=] guitar peripheral out for review, they did not send their [=AirStrike=] drum peripheral to reviewers. The few who bought their own [=AirStrike=] to review noted that the peripheral looks nothing like a drum kit, and its operation was very finicky at best to completely nonfunctional at worst due to a complete lack of tactile feedback; the player ''had'' to use the "special" drumsticks that came with the peripheral and ''hold them in a specific way'' in order for the unit to register a "hit" on a "drumhead".
* There were no review copies sent out for ''VideoGame/RideToHellRetribution'', for reasons that became obvious when the game finally released and was universally panned by critics.
* With ''VideoGame/TheSims4'', EA refused to provide a review copy (and many gamers thus expected the worst). Indeed, when the game launched, [[InternetBackdraft it garnered much criticism from fans]] [[TheyChangedItSoItSucks for doing away with a lot of staple features of the series]]. Critical reaction, while considerably more positive than fan reviews, was generally mixed, echoing fan sentiment that the omission of several features made the game more dull to play in comparison to its predecessors.
* ''VideoGame/{{Destiny}}'' was withheld from being given to reviewers due to Bungie wanting them to wait until the game was released due to its social aspects. While the game ultimately didn't turn out bad, it wasn't considered to be as great as it was expected to be.
* Creator/{{Ubisoft}} pulled a variation of this with ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedUnity''. While they did send out advance review copies, they came with an embargo that prevented the reviews from being released until 9 AM PST on the day of the game's release, hours after it first became available for purchase. Given the negative reviews it attracted due to being an ObviousBeta, many saw this as a calculated move.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** Creator/{{Sega}} declined to send any review copies of either initial ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' game to major reviewers prior to the launch date, though some advance copies were sent to a select number of fansites. Given the games' negative status among the fanbase as [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames tie-in games made to advertise]] [[WesternAnimation/SonicBoom the animated series of the same name]] and a lukewarm pre-release reception from critics, it's not hard to see why Sega pulled this move. The games had also received [[InvisibleAdvertising barely any advertising]] in the months leading up to the games' release. Needless to say, critics alike outright trashed both games once they were able to obtain copies for review purposes; though reception to ''Shattered Crystal'' was somewhat more favorable than ''Rise of Lyric'', which ended up being the ''worst-reviewed'' Sonic game to date, receiving critical aggregate scores ''even lower'' than the [[ObviousBeta largely derided]] ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006''.
** Sega did it again for ''VideoGame/SonicForces'', with review codes for the game withheld until the game's release date. While a Sega PR representative stated the move was done so the review codes would coincide with a day-one patch for the game that added various updates to the game, people were quick to draw comparisons to the aforementioned review embargo pulled with the ''Boom'' games, while also making note of the game's muted launch campaign and budget price (unheard of for mainline ''Sonic'' games). While ''Forces'' wasn't as reviewed as poorly as the aforementioned ''Boom'' games, critical reactions were tepid at best.
* In a rare move for a {{Creator/Nintendo}}-published game, Nintendo of America refused to send out any review codes for ''VideoGame/DevilsThird'' and didn't supply a preview blurb for it in its weekly "New Releases" press release. The game had already been released in Europe four months prior with generally negative reviews from critics and a mixed reaction from players, which makes the reason obvious.
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom 2016}}'' wasn't given out to critics as the publisher had been marketing it with a focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game. Their pre-release multi-player demo 'beta test' received a mixed reaction due to it being too ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty''-esque which scared the publisher into not sending out review copies. Upon release however, the multiplayer was generally ignored by the fanbase & reviewers, while the singleplayer campaign was extremely well received to the point that it became the prime reason most people wanted. Later, towards the end of 2016, Bethesda revealed that this would become a standard practice for them, and reviewers shouldn't expect advance copies of any of their games in the future.
* ''VideoGame/NoMansSky'': Review copies of this game weren't given to PC users at all, and the ''No Man's Sky'' review embargo was lifted on August 9th 2016, the same day as the game's release date. Hello Games didn't like that leaked copies footage got published on the internet, claiming that it ''"didn't represent in which the game would take on its release day"''. As it turned out to be, the leaked copies of the game were a perfect representation of what the game would look like on its release day, and many players were in for a bad surprise.

* Before ''WesternAnimation/ACharlieBrownChristmas'' was first aired in 1965, CBS initially refused to let any critics see the special beforehand, fearing that the avalanche of bad reviews they expected to receive would kill the careers of everybody involved. [[note]]CBS had ordered it in the hopes of receiving a lighthearted, goofy cartoon starring the Peanuts gang and objected to about everything that made it classic, such as Linus quoting the Bible, the voice acting by actual kids and Music/VinceGuaraldi's jazz soundtrack. Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, producer and director, thought the rush-produced special was a disaster.[[/note]] They eventually relented and invited a critic of Time Magazine to view the special; he wrote a positive review that was published the day after the premiere.